Trademark registration is an important step to establishing your brand and getting ahead of competition. In Singapore where there are a lot of investment opportunities, you will have to compete with brands that have loyal customers who want quality and assurance. A registered mark can put you on the same playing field as the companies with established brands.
Benefits of a Registered Mark
To register trademark means creating a unique identity for your company, but you will also get to enjoy several benefits, such as the following:
• Protection. Trademark registration is the best way to protect your brand from copycats and imposters who might wish to use the reputation of your brand to sell their products and/or services. This often happens to small businesses that are popular to the public and another entrepreneur will try to steal the idea because it works. The cost to submit a business mark application in Singapore is considerably a good investment for your business endeavor. If you register trademark, not only is the name of the business protected, but also the logo, design, colors, and tagline that you use to market your products and/or services. As part of the intellectual property laws, you are the recognized owner of your registered mark and you are given the right to use it for profit.
• Validation. Applying for a trademark registration in Singapore also ensures that you are copying other brands, too. The registered mark will less likely have problems because you have proven that it is original and unique.
• Enforcement. If you decided to take legal action against copycats or impostors, you will stand a batter chance at winning and getting compensation if you have a registered mark. The burden of proof will fall on the offender or the one who does not own the registered mark, because intellectual property laws recognizes that you are the owner of the brand. You will also spend less money than if you pay for damages even when you unintentionally or unknowingly copied a brand design.
• Public Notice. Part of the trademark registration process is advertising your trademark to determine whether the public will approve or object. The public can object if they think that the design or logo looks similar to a registered mark. If there is an objection, the applicant will be given time to complete the necessary actions to get approval.
• Security. Majority of the companies in Singapore also advertise online, which means that there will also be copycats and imposters that might sell the same product or a rip-off product. Intellectual property laws also cover trademark protection online especially in social media where your brand can be misrepresented or copied by other entrepreneurs. The offender has to pay damages to the owner the brand has been proven a copy.
• Brand Loyalty. Customers always look for brands they can trust. After all, they are spending their money on your products and/or services, that is why it is your responsibility to reassure them that you are operating a legal business which lawfully met copyright requirements. Establishing brand loyalty is essential to the growth of any business. With your avid customers patronizing your brand, you can renew trademark in Singapore even past its expiration and extend existing trademark by 10 years.
Registering Your Brand
A registered mark gives you exclusive rights and ownership on the name, an asset that you can use to improve and expand your business. Companies of any size are encouraged to apply for trademark registration in Singapore to enjoy the benefits detailed above.
The validity of the trademark registration lasts for about ten years and is renewable. Remember that if you register TM at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), it means that the protection of the trademark only applies in the country. If you wish to apply for protection overseas, you can also submit the trademark application at IPOS using the Madrid Protocol.
Here are the things you need to do to apply for a trademark.
1. File an application form that includes the name of the owner, the address of the company, the goods and/or services that will be filed under that trademark, and the clear graphical representation of the trademark.
2. The goods and/or services filed under the trademark must be identified based on the classes. There are 11 service classes and 34 goods classes for trademark registration.
3. Pay the fee for trademark registration. The fee is applicable per class identified.
4. Issuance of a mark number by IPOS 15 days after checking the requirements.
5. Examination of the IPOS to determine if the trademark follows the Trade Mark Act guidance. The report can usually take up to four months to complete.
6. If the examination report is negative, the applicant will be given four months to respond. The applicant, however, can apply for an extension if needed.
7. If the examination report is positive, IPOS will publish the trademark in the Trade Mark Journal. This will determine if there are objections to the application within a two-month period. If there are oppositions, it may be necessary to conduct a hearing.
8. If there is no opposition to the published trademark, the owner will be given a certificate of registration.
9. The trademark application may be renewed by the owner after ten years but must show that the registered mark has been use for five consecutive years since its date of registration.
10. For owner wishing to register trademark outside Singapore and for foreigners who wish to designate Singapore, application may be done via the Madrid Protocol. The same steps listed above are applied but additional fees are required. The designated countries will also examine the trademark before the certificate is granted.
11. Renewal of trademark registration may be done online by submitting the application form and paying the fee.
12. The owner may grant a license to another party to use the registered mark. This can be done through agreements or contracts. The type of license may be exclusive or non-exclusive and a limiting the license for a specific purpose or non-transferable license. The owner should consult a lawyer if he/she wishes to grant licenses, franchise, or sell the trademark.