Owning a registered trade mark allows you to more easily stop competitors using similar trade marks for similar goods when they copy your mark. In some countries, owning a registered trade mark means that you have a defence against a third party alleging that you have infringed their trade mark. Further, in some countries, improper use of a registered trade mark by a competitor is classified as a criminal offence. The owners of registered trade marks may also request that Customs officers seize shipments of goods bearing fraudulent or deceptive trade marks.
There are a number of other, not-so-obvious, advantages to registration of a trade mark.
Firstly, the trade mark registration is entered on a publicly searchable database so everyone can see that you have the trade mark registered and for what goods or services. This can be valuable in itself as others may be ‘warned off’ using a similar trade mark for similar goods or services simply by seeing it on the list of registered trade marks.
Secondly, it allows you to build reputation into the trade mark. Many consumers will buy goods or services based on the strength of a brand alone, knowing that certain brands provide high product quality or good value for example. The trade mark becomes the beacon by which customers recognise the characteristics of the products or services provided.
In a world in which more people shop online, the benefit of trade marks has become more important as prospective purchasers no longer visit a physical shop to see the product or experience the quality of the product. Manufacturers and sellers of goods are losing face to face contact with their customers. In the absence of this relationship, a trade mark serves as a means of assuring product quality and authenticity because a customer can be sure of the origin of the product or service.
A trade mark registration allows more effective control over this part of the relationship with new and existing customers.
Wilson Gunn can advise on all aspects of intellectual property protection. Please get in touch to speak to a member of our team about trade mark protection.