Mikołaj Lech

patent attorney

A lawyer, who specializes in industrial property law, combating unfair competition and copyright. Thanks to work in Patent Agency he has a contact with the current problems of entrepreneurs.
[Read more >>>]

9 Jun

Trademark – what benefits can it bring to your company?

Trademarks are registered in the Patent Office. The question is – is it worth spending money for? In this article you’ll read what are the benefits of such legal protection and what can be protected as a trademark. Just for you to know – there was even a succes in registering the smell of a fresh cut grass…

Trademark – what does it really mean?

Simply speaking:

Any sign capable of being represented graphically may be considered as trademark, provided that such signs are capable of distinguishing the goods of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.

trademarkIn practice, enterpreteurs usually register:

  • brand name and
  • company logo

In Polish Patent Office such procedure lasts for about 6 months. Registering of a community trademark (protected in the whole EU) lasts for 5 months.

The whole proceudre ends up with issuing the registration number and the protection certificate:

The protection itself lasts for 10 years with a possibility of extension to further 10 years periods.

There is no necessity to register a trade mark, however only such trade marks are granted with rights and benefits described below.

Registration of a trademark – what does it provide?

1 – You become a real owner of your own brand.

Ask yourself a question:

Have you checked, while chosing the name of your company, wether it infringes an already registered trademark?

Unfortunately a lot of enterpreteurs are carlessly chosing the names which are already taken and registered. After years of investing their time and money into pormotion of the brand, they receive a letter from a law firm and suddenly realise their mistake. The letter calls for an end of infringing someone’s right for protection of a trademark.

At that point the choice is one – to change the name of the company.

By registering your trademark, you receive an official statement conrifming that you are the owner of your brand. It allows you to develop it without a risk, that one day someone will force you to change the name under which your company operates.

2 – A strong legal instrument for fighting against unfair competition

By developing your company, you build a strong, recognizable brand. A brand received well by both – your clients and business partners. The whole process takes years and requires a lot of effort.

There are although some people wanting to take shortcuts by impersonating recognizable brands. Sometimes names of their products differ from “originals” with only  one letter. It is also the case with logo.

Their goal is

to make consumer confuse both companies and buy goods or services from a fraud.

A legal protection of your trademark allows you to fight with such situations effectively! You can not only prohibit a given company to use your trade mark, but also make them pay a compensation.

Nobody can use your trade mark (or even a similair one), if you have a protection certificare.

3 – Faciliated earning

You can make a real money using your trademark.

Its value can be estimated according to turnovers and earnings of your company. Such information allows for granting chargeable licenses for using a recognizable trademark.

This is often the way of operating of different kinds of restaurants.

A trademark itsef can be easily sold at any time.

It is popular especially in United States.

People out there do not develop their brands in order to make money out of it for the rest of their lives, but to sell it at some point.

It can be done by selling only a trade mark, but also a trade mark and all the featuring material goods, such as factories, machines or cars.

Also, registering of a trade mark can bring some specific tax benefits.

It was laud recently about a tax optimisation of the LPP company. They used some lawful (!) legal means in order to pay lower taxes.

4 – Regulated property issues

Protection certificate for a trademark includes a variety of information:

  • Who is the owner of a trademark.
  • Starting date of the protection.
  • Protected products/services.

Sometimes, and it happens very often, enterpreteurs fight with each other for the property rights of a given brand. Saddly it is often a fight between family members or former co-workers.

Such cases are usualy very complicated, long and expensive. After many years it is hard to prove who created e.g. a company logo.

A lot of such conflicts wouldn’t end up in courts, if a trademark would be registered at the very beginning. Also, there wouldn’t be any possesion-related doubts.

5 – A trademark can help you in case of bankruptcy.

As you have already read, it is possible to estimate trademark’s value.

After many years on the market, a given brand is surely recognizable. During all this time somebody was investing money for the promotion.

It happens although, that a company bankrupts and have to deal with a bailiff, whose job is to compensate creditors from the debtor’s assets.

In practice it is all about transfering assets for cash.

Registered trademark can be easily sold in the bailiff auction. Money gained thanks to it may help to reduce your debt.

Proposed acquirers are often able to pay a huge amount of money for a trade mark, it’s just profitable to them. It is easier to pay 25 000, EUR than invest such amount of money into promotion of a new brand, without any guarantee success. I wrote about it in this article.

What can be registered as a trademark?

There is no limits if it comes to the form of a trademark. What matters is just its distinctive character and a graphic representation. It is also important for the trademark to be sensually perceived. Bearing in mind the above rules, we can file the application for:

Words

orlen_2-300x214Words are the most common form of a trademark. The following items can constitute a word trademark: company name, logo, product brand and even a full advert. It may be claimed with the characteristic design or without it (just the sound of a word).

Domain name

opony.com_In this case protection is conferred under certain conditions. We can ragister a word domain, e.g. www.google.com or a characteristic designed domain.

Drawings

polski-busBy drawings are meant ornaments, graphics and motifs without any words. The protection is conferred regardless from the word elements. On the left we have a nice stork used by a polish company PolskiBus.com

Labels

Toruńskie-pierniki-R-248804-300x101It is quite popular in Poland to register labels or product packages as a trademarks. Example on the right – a polish gingerbread.

Spacial forms

Znaki-towarowe-przestrzenneThere is a possibility of protecting a sign which have a spacial form. It is all about its unique shape and look. Even though there is no big discussion about such signs, they are quite popular in Poland. Database of Polish Patent Office is full of this kind of trademarks, for example different kinds of containters or bottles.

 

Colours or combinations of colours

Czerwone-podeszwyChristian Louboutin, designer of luxury shoes for women, became famous becouse of painting the soles of designed by him shoes in red. He achieved an incredible success, which naturally attracted a lot of imitators. Louboutin therefore decided to take a better care of his projects and registered the red sole as a trademark.

lila-150x150In Poland there is just one succesfully registered coulour – it’s lilac, registered by a producer of MILKA chocolate (Kraft Jacobs Suchard).

Multimedia presentations

In the OHIM database I managed to find an exampe of a moving trademark.

Znak-multimedialny-ohim-000034616681-300x239Melodies or ringing tones

There is an accordance in a matter of sound trademarks. Such signs can be registered, becouse it can be easily represented graphicly, for example in a form of music notation. We can find a lot of interesting sound trademarks registered around the world.

We can find many interesting examples of such trademarks, registered in the world: in EUIPO and Switzerland (below a trademark no 525027 ).

Szwajcaria-znak-towarowy-dźwiękowy-nr-525027Scents

A lot of people were trying to register a smell as a trade mark, but Patent Offices were always refusing. The reason was simple – the smell is not a trade mark by definition, it can’t be represented graphically. There were vocies, that a chemical formula is not a graphic representation and there is no other way to represent it.
However, what EUIPO needed to register a smell was just a description: the smell of fresh cut grass.

The-smell-of-fresh-cut-grassIn this way the first olfactory trademark was registered.

Mikołaj Lech

Do you need legal help? Contact with me.
+48 607 416 240
office@lech.bydgoszcz.pl
Mikołaj Lech

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: