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What is Singapore Trademark? Beginners’ Guide

A Beginners Guide

A trademark is defined as a name or a symbol that is legally secured through a registration that recognizes the product/service of the owner and differentiates it from the products/services offered by other businesses. The main concept behind trademark law is to prevent anyone else from the right to selling the owner’s goods/services through misrepresentation. It takes a lot of time, efforts and money for a business to develop goodwill for itself in the market. If there is not ample protection, another business can take advantage of this by using identical or similar name.

If you have registered your trademark, you will have the right to prevent any other business from using a matching, identical or similar trademark, especially in the same goods/services. For example, no other business except Apple Computers, Inc is permitted to use the term “Apple” in the computer business for identifying themselves or their brands. The Intellection Property Office of Singapore or IPOS is the government authority in Singapore responsible for registering trademarks. It is a statuary board laid down by the Ministry of Law.

The following guide offers a basic introduction to the rules that govern trademark and the reasons for registering it.

Definition of Trademark

A trademark is basically a sign that makes a good/service offered by a business unique, and lets the business have a unique identity compared to the competition. The trademark can be in the form of a word, phrase, sound, logo or a package design. However, it is not essential that the trademark mention the name of the manufacturer or let the consumer identify the manufacturer. The only requirement is that the trademark communicates to the consumers that the goods/services are from a specific source that is different from all other sources of that good/service.

The term “trademark” is often used for referring to trade marks as well as service marks. The difference between a service mark and trademark is not much significant, and the marks are often the same entities. The only major difference is that while the trademark stands for a good/product, the later represents a service. It is a common practice to mention service marks as both trademarks and service marks. But it is not possible to call “trademark” as “service mark”.

The commonly used symbols that tell a trademark include ™ and ®. While ™ is used as a symbol for indicating that the trademark is used by a company as their trademark, ® means that the trademark has been registered and protected by the trade mark law. ™ doesn’t imply that the trademark has been registered or protected by the law. Although it is not essential to use these symbols, there are some unique advantages. Anyone who comes across the names will identify that your company claims these symbols as your trademarks. This will prevent them from using your name for their own business purposes.

“Patent”, “Copyright” and “Trademark” are three words which are often interchanged and used incorrectly. These are actually different types of indescribable properties that could be purchased or sold, licensed and used for commercial profits. However, they stand for entirely separate interests.

  • Patents are for protecting new discoveries, inventions and newly created designs.
  • Copyrights help protect innovative works of authorship related to sculptures, paintings, architectural designs and computer programs.
  • Trademarks are not designed to protect innovative or new creation. Trademarks can be registered without any kind of innovation on the part of the owner. For example, when the consumers started calling “Coca Cola” by the new name of “Coke”, it became a new term for identification of the same product and the company registered it as a trademark.

Reasons for Registering a Trademark

It is not essential to register your trademark for using under the Singapore Trademark Laws. Registering your trademark can add a lot of value to your business. The main advantages of trademark registration include the following:

  • The owner of the trademark receives the right to ownership and they have the right to prevent anyone from using identical or similar trademark without their permission.
  • The registration of trademark protects it from being copied or used because the owner has the right to file a suit and collect any damages from the infringing party.
  • Creates a fair awareness among consumers and public at large about the genuine quality and ownership of the product/service.
  • It eliminates or reduces the chances that another party may claim that your use of a trademark is an infringement on their own trademark.

The Right to use the Symbol of ®

Registration of trademark represented by the symbol ® helps you inform the world that you own the rights to the trademarks and deters anyone in the following 2 ways:

  • The Singapore Trademark Office will object or cancel any application for registration of similar marks.
  • Your trademark appears on the Registry and searches and other businesses will be discouraged from creating any similar marks.
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