Trademark is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others
Trademarks used to identify services are usually called as service marks
Trademarks are protected by intellectual property rights
Protection of Trademark
At the national/regional level, trademark protection can be obtained through registration, by filing an application for registration with the national/regional trademark office and paying the required fees
At the international level, you have two options
1) file a trademark application with the trademark office of each country in which you are seeking protection
2) you can use WIPO’s Madrid system
Rights provided by trademark registration
Trademark registration will confer an exclusive right to the use of the registered trademark
Licensed to another party for use in return for payment
Registration provides legal certainty and reinforces the position of the right holder, in case of litigation
Trademark protection period
The term of trademark registration can vary, but is usually ten years
It can be renewed indefinitely on payment of additional fees
Trademark rights are private rights and protection is enforced through court orders
Kinds of trademark which can be registered
1) a word or combination of words
6) three dimensional features such as shape and packaging of goods
7) non-visoble signs such as fragrances
8) color shades
The possibilities are almost limitless
Types of Trademarks
1) generic mark
2) descriptive mark
3) suggestive mark
5) arbitrary mark
TM without registering
The (TM) Symball actually had no legal meaning
You can use this symball or any mark that your company uses without registering it
TM indicates that company plans to register through the USPTO
Trademark applications are filed for registration of slogan
Slogans are protected as trademark
Advantages of Trademark registration
1) owner of registered trademark enjoys exclusive right
2) builds trust and goodwill
3) differentiates product
4) recognition of products quality
5) creation of asset
6) use of ® symball
7) protection against infringement
8) protection for ten years at low cost
Disadvantages of Descriptive Trademarks
1) not qualifying for registration on the principal register
2) descriptive trademarks are weak marks
3) trademark registration process may cost more
4) your marketing and advertising costs will increase
5) litigation can be risky, uncertain and expensive with a descriptive mark
6) consumers may not remember your brand
7) non-payment of renewal fees may cause the removal of the trademark from the register
Trademark valuation methods
1) future income based valuation
2) market value method
3) historic cost method
4) relief from royalty method
Trademarks can appreciate in value over time
The more your business reputation grows, the more valuable your brand will be
Trademarks provide value beyond your core business
Your trademark can lead to the acquisition of your business by a larger corporation
1) Future income based trademark valuation
The future income attributable from the trademark is discounted back to present value to arrive at a present day valuation
For instance, if a well known trademark brand, earns franchise fee of Rs 1 crore every year, then all such future cash flows are discounted to arrive at a valuation for the trademark today
2) Market value method for trademark valuation
Market data pertaining to selling, buying, franchising or licensing is used to arrive at a valuation
The availability of relevant market data and the similarity of the transaction based on which valuation is arrived are key factors that influence trademark valuation
For instance, if a well known brand in the same industry was sold at Rs 1 crore and Rs 1.25 crore recently, then the information can be used as a benchmark to arrive at a valuation for the registered trademark
3) Historic cost method of trademark valuation
The cost accrued in terms of advertising and brand building are factored to arrive at a valuation
Historic cost method of trademark valuation is one of the most conservative methods
It does not factor in goodwill associated with the trademark
It can be a good method for valuing trademarks that are relatively new on the market
4) Relief from royalty method of trademark valuation
A trademarks value is determined based on the expected royalty savings due to trademark ownership
Data such as royalty earned from the same trademark or similar trademark and additional revenue on account of the trademark can be used to arrive at a trademark valuation
Steps of the royalty aproach
1) determine how the trademark will be used in the future, whether it will remain critical, and will be phased out over time, and how managements expectations in this regard may differ from those in the market
2) determine the projected profit to be generated by the trademark, including trademarks or product names for multiple services lines and products
This includes the length of time for which they will generate revenue, which may be for just a few years or for the foreseeable future
3) figure out the royalty rate for this profit stream, based on what it would cost for another company to license a similar trademark
Review market data for royalty rates in legal agreements, SEC filings, and the royalty source intellectual property database
4) estimate the discount rate, which indicates how much your company saves by avoiding royalty payments on the trademark it owns
Consider the risks associated with a trademark, whether branding and re-branding will occur, the strength of the brand, your company’s current position in the marketplace and historical financial performance
The term that’s used to describe a transfer of an owner’s title, interest and rights in a service mark or trademark to a different party is known as trademark assignment
With a trademark assignment, the assignor or transferring party, transfers their property rights with the trademark to the assignee or receiving party
It is intended to avoid consumer confusion and preventing companies from diluting the marks of other firms
Trademark law is important to enable the trademark proprietor to develop goodwill for the product or service and prevent other parties from exploiting the brand
1) protecting brand identity
2) it will stop competitors from poaching your customers by imitating your brand
3) it can also offers you some protection of those copycats do something reputation-damaging
Trademark importance in business
1) trademarks are an effective communication tools
2) trademarks make it easy for customers to find you
3) trademarks allow businesses to effectively utilize internet and social media
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