Registering trademarks is a key brand protection precaution, businesses and organizations have been advised.
Business Link explained that trademarks provide a distinctive way of representing goods or services, which sets them apart from those of other traders.
They are a badge of origin for a business or product, and help ensure only the creator and genuine rights holders are able to profit from their use.
“Trademarks are a valuable piece of intellectual property (IP) and can play an important role in your marketing and branding activities,” Business Link stated.
The advisory service noted that registered marks can be words, phrases or slogans, logos or symbols, signs or forms of packaging, and even sounds and jingles.
Colors, gestures, brand names and company names can all be trademarks if they are used in a unique way by a particular individual, company or organization.
“A trade mark must be distinctive for the goods and services you use it for. And it mustn’t mislead people about the nature of your products or services,” Business Link stated.
The service explained that common law may offer some automatic trademark protection, provided sufficient trading reputation and goodwill have been built up in a mark.
But where trademarks have been registered, there is no need to prove the facts in court – evidence of ownership is there in black and white.
“It makes it much easier for you to take legal action against anyone who uses your trademark without your permission,” Business Link noted.
“In fact, just registering a trademark can serve as a deterrent to people who might otherwise infringe it.”
Figures published by the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2011 suggested that companies and other bodies are recognizing the importance of securing the legal rights to their marks.
The organization reported that trademarks are the most common form of intellectual property protection sought, ahead of patents, service marks and copyright.