When you start your own business, whether it is in production or service, it is important to protect your brand. If your company is well-established with a good reputation, you want it to be safe so that no other company can put their fingers and logo on it. An example could be a Chinese motorcycle developer using the brand and logo of Harley Davidsons to sell their products. It is not only unethical, but also illegal since Harley Davidson is a registered trademark. When a brand is registered, and brand protected the owner has an exclusive right to use the brand.
Registering a trademark
Filing for brand protection is made with the authorities in the country where you live or where your company is situated. When the application is approved you can proceed with brand protection in other countries. This is made by sending an application to WIPO, World Intellectual Property Organization. This is for countries affiliated with the “Madrid protocol” The protocol is a deal between countries regarding international trademarks and brand protection. Usually brand protection from the origin country is used in the rest of the world. When applicating for this you need to be very thorough in naming in what countries you want to protect your brand. After the application, every country decides whether the brand protection is valid in their country. Members of the European Union, EU, can apply for all countries at the same time. If one of the member countries declines the brand protection, it fails, and the company will have to apply in every country separately.
A brand, or trademark, can include all kinds of signs and letters that can be graphically reproduced. It can be logotypes, names, abbreviations, letters and numbers. A trademark can also be a package or even a shape. When you are registering a trademark, it is best to seek legal help with an authorized counsellor to make sure everything is properly done from the start. If you end up in a battle about it with another company or product it can be the difference between winning or losing if you have followed the procedures and rules from the beginning. A trademark can also be a so-called word-trademark, like FANTA and Windows NT. Word-trademarks can also be a combination of words, like LG or VAT69. A figure mark is a trademark containing a figure or a combination of words and a special font. A colour can also be of importance. A form or colour of a package can also be significant to a brand. The most famous trademark is probably Coca Cola and its significant glass bottle. Even a sound can be registered as a trademark. There are some demands to register a sound as a trademark, the sound has to be able to be reproduced graphically, for example as notes. Many short jingles are registered trademarks. Some examples are ringtones for mobile phones where you today can listen and hear whether the ringing phone is a Samsung, Huawei or iPhone that is ringing.