What is a Trade Mark?
FEB 8, 2017
A trade mark is a unique way of identifying a product or service. Trade marks are also referred to as a “brand” or “logo”. They may consist of words, images, numbers, letters, personal names, slogans, the packaging of goods or any combination of these. In some countries, a trade mark can even be a sound, a motion, colour, smell or taste!
Trade marks are used by persons or businesses to differentiate their goods or services from those of their competitors. According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the origin of trade marks date back to ancient times when artisans would place their signatures, or “marks” on their creative works. Trade marks therefore serve as an indication of source by allowing consumers to purchase based on specific qualities or characteristics they have come to identify with the brands they prefer. The owner of a trade mark has the exclusive rights to the use of that mark. These rights include the right to license the mark to others, like in the case of a franchise, or stop others from using the mark without the owner’s permission. Trade mark rights can be legally enforced in court, under the Trade Mark Law, where the mark is registered, or under the common law tort of passing off.
Under the new Trade Mark Law, you will be able to protect a trade mark by registering it with the Cayman Islands Intellectual Property Office (CIIPO).
Keep in mind that trade mark rights are territorial. This means the exclusive rights you obtain from registering a mark only apply in the country in which you’ve registered the mark. You should therefore register your mark in all countries in which you plan to use your mark.
If you successfully register your trade mark, you can use the ® symbol next to your mark. You may also have seen persons using the ™ symbol next to their mark. This symbol means that the owner is using the mark as a trade mark but it does not mean the mark has been registered under the Trade Marks Law.
Trade marks, once registered, are protected for a total of ten years from the date of filing and may be renewed every ten years thereaf-ter.
Here are the five best reasons to register your trade mark with CIIPO:
- You can take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission.
- It legally reinforces your owner-ship.
- It gives you exclusive rights to use your trade mark.
- You can use the ® or ™ symbol next to your brand.
- You can sell or license your brand.
Published in www.caymaniantimes.ky