Trademark basics – What, Why and When

trademark basics intellectual property singapore IPHub Asia

Most of you may already be aware of the trademark basics.

However, we’d like to make sure you have your facts right. So, in this article, we’ll tell you about the 3 Ws of trademarks – what it is, why you need to register your trademark, and when you should do it.

What is a trademark?

The Singapore Trade Marks Act defines a trademark as “any sign capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing goods or services dealt with or provided in the course of trade by a person from goods or services so dealt with or provided by any other person”.

In simple words, a trademark is the name or logo of your business, your products or services that differentiates your business, products or services from that of others.

Why is it important to register your trademark?

Business owners will carefully choose the right trademark that fits their product and character. But not every business owner would understand the value of a trademark and the importance of having their trademark registered.

What needs to be noted is that a trademark is the face of your business. In other words, people recognize your business when they see your trademark in the market.

Furthermore, a trademark is an asset, despite being an intangible one. It has value, which can be very significant and increases with the growth of your business. Therefore, you need to protect it as you would protect your other valuable assets.

What are the benefits of having your trademark registered?

Having your trademark registered gives you the exclusive right to use your trademark in the country where the trademark registration has been obtained. We say exclusive because you, as the trademark owner, will have the sole right to use the trademark for your products or services or to grant a license to third parties to use the same, in which case you can obtain monetary compensation for such a license.

Having your trademark registered also gives you the right to take legal action if your trademark is being used for similar goods or services by third parties without your prior authorization.

When should I register my trademark?

It is not uncommon that new business owners would start using their trademark in the market without even considering to protect it. Sometimes this is not because of lack of knowledge, but simply because of budgeting issues. Whatever the reason, this can be a very costly mistake.

Another common mistake made by business owners is that they only think about protecting their trademark when their business has grown. Or, when they find their trademark being used by a third party or when legal action is taken against them because their trademark is the same or similar to the trademark of that third party. In such circumstances, it will be harder, if not too late, and definitely more costly to obtain protection for the trademark.

We recommend that business owners register their trademark before they start using it in public or before they launch their products or services with the same. It is important to take into account that it may take months to obtain a trademark registration, or even longer in some Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

You can read our article on the process for registering your trademark to know about the trademark registration process in Singapore.

Now that you’ve been introduced to the trademark basics, you may wish to know more. If you have more questions or require solutions for your trademark and design rights in Asia, please get in touch. We would be glad to help.

You can also visit our website to know more about what we do.