We may think that registering intellectual property (IP) ownership rights are a fairly new occurrence it is not. Even the Romans stamped bricks to show their sign of ownership. Trademark law is quite ancient going out back to the year 1266 in England. The old law known as the “bakers marking law” used to indicate the maker of a loaf of bread. Each baker would have their own registered mark.
Trademark law is now well established internationally. Almost every single established company now has their own mark that uniquely defines their brand. Most people think that you have to legally register a mark to be able to use it but the opposite is true. You register a mark so that others cannot use it! When you register a trademark you gain the unique right to be the only one to use the mark or to control who can use it.
A trademark is a particular mark that permits customers to recognize you without seeing your product. It is a unique part of your brand. Trials have shown that you can show just part of a noted trademark and people know which brand it belongs to. This demonstrates the power of a good image and how the brain works atrecalling such things. This is why it is important to legally protect important marks and words.
You do not need to legally record a mark to own it and stop others using it but like most things in the arena of law – the one who holds the papers first wins! Registration legally fixes the date of ownership beyond any sense of doubt. In some countries common law gives some protection but at the end of the day you have more security if you engage trademark lawyers to protect important IP.
These days you can self-register a trademark but there are underlying hazards of doing this of course. Trademarks attorneys of course know how to register and how to protect possession if the rights are abused. They know the full story of registration and protection. If you self-register you may get a cheap registration but you may have left a loop-hole for somebody to misuse your rights later on.
Registration of trademarks can be done in one or more countries. Presently there is no such thing as a international trademark. You have to register in all the nations where you require protection.
Registration has become simpler over the recent years with the existence of systems like the Madrid System of International Registration of Marks through the World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva, Switzerland but global registration is still a boring and fairly pricy process.
Of course the benefits of registering a trademark outweigh the costs and challenges. If you are focused about your company you should be looking into at registration today.
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