What is a Trademark

A trademark is a sign, design or expression which identifies and distinguishes the source of the products or services of one party from the others. Trademarks are protected by intellectual property rights. Owner of a trademark can be an individual, business organization or any legal entity. Location of the trademark can be on a package, a label, a voucher or on the product itself.

Local business owners and companies can have their brand, goods and services protected specifically for Singapore only and also the option to extend the protection to multiple territories, by applying for an International Mark.

Why do you Need to Trademark

Companies can utilize their desired symbols, logos, slogans, words to depict their brands, products or services without having them trademarked. However, that allows other individuals and organizations to adopt the exact same depiction as you. Having your brand, good or services trademarked means that no one else will have the right to use it but you. In the event that your business becomes extremely successful, any plagiarism of your brand, products or services can also lead to you winning law suits against these me-too companies.

Here are some core reasons leading to the increase of trademarks:

  • Distinguish the company’s goods and services from the competition through unique brand identity
  • Thwart imitation products from confusing your customers and infringing your market share
  • Identifies the brand with its suite of products or services to build preference and loyalty with customers
  • Make it easy for buyers to locate the company and the offerings
  • Increase sales and distribution channels through licensing to third parties in franchising and reselling
  • Return of branding and marketing investment where high brand equity fetches good premium in a sell-out

What can I Trademark

For a trademark to become registered, it needs to be unique and be easily differentiated from other branded goods or services. Representations that can potentially confuse a consumer will not be accepted.

Descriptive, superlative and generic words in any language such as Foolproof, Aroma, Super, Durable also cannot be trademarked. Deceptive marks that mislead consumers to the actual origin of the products or services are also not accepted. For example, Singapore Cows will not be accepted as it gives the impression that the cows are breed in Singapore.

Trademarks that are usually accepted are made-up specially and does not mirror any known terms. For instance, CorporateGuide as a joint term would be unique, or invented terms like GuideVice for Guidance & Advice. If you would like to have a generic name like Beauty for your company, read more about Trade Names vs Trademark to understand what can be trademarked.

According to IPOS, trademarks that can be submitted for registration include letters, words, names, signatures, numerals, devices, brands, labels, tickets, shapes, colors, aspects of packaging or any combination of these. Learn more about trademarking logotypes.

Trade Names vs Trademark

Trade names are the actual business names of companies. Trademarks and trade names are not the same, even though many companies use their trade names as trademarks. If your company name is a generic noun, verb or adjective, such as Beauty Corporation, if you are using “Beauty” as a substitute for Beauty Corporation, you are using it as a trade name.

Because they are nouns, trade names can be used in the possessive and do not require a generic term or a trademark symbol. Thus, you should not use a ® after “Beauty” when it appears as part of the full corporate name or as a trade name.

Corporate Name: This skincare product was developed by Beauty Pte Ltd
Trade Name: This skincare product was developed by Beauty.
Trade Name: Beauty’s latest skincare products won the Editor’s Choice award.
Trademark: The Beauty® moisturizing lotion is gel based and paraben free.

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