Brand Name Trademarking | How To Register Your Company

On one hand, Brand Name Trademarking protects certain kinds of intellectual properties. Whereas it can apply to any unique symbol, name, device, or word that simply identifies a company or product. On the other hand, smart business people instinctively understand the benefit of finding a name for their business.

Especially that which has the highest potential to develop into a brand name. Not to mention that they know that brand name trademarking is of great value to their business and products credibility. Brand names and trademarks are valuable assets to a business. Often a brand or trademark becomes synonymous with the product.

For example, Xerox (R) is often used to mean copy. Because of this, many companies want to protect their brands from others who may try to copy or misrepresent their name.

Brand Name Trademarking And Protection 

In simple terms, trademarks are legal protections that prevent others from reproducing or using identifying features of your brand. Such as your company name or logo – without your permission.

This even extends to the use of names or logos that could be easily confused with yours. All brand elements are trademarked as soon as they’re in use. Furthermore, if you design a logo and put it on your website, it’s technically illegal for someone else to copy it. However, it’s wise to formally register your trademarks.

If you don’t, it can be more difficult to take action against anyone who tries to steal your branding. Generally speaking, the consequences of choosing not to register a trademark for your company name or logo can be severe. Someone may imitate your brand to sell customers low-quality versions of your products.

Learn More: How To Register A Trademark For Your Company Name And Logo (7 Steps)

Additionally, they could even scam customers by taking their money fraudulently, while never planning on delivering a product. While common law and state law trademark rights do still exist, they provide significantly less protection than federal trademark registration.

Any of these situations would (of course) reflect poorly on your brand. Some customers may blame your company for their poor quality items, or for the loss of their money. A registered trademark can help you prevent this from happening.

To get started successfully: 
  1. Consider Hiring a Trademark Attorney
  2. Specify Your ‘Mark’ and Associated Products or Services
  3. Search for Similar Marks in the USPTO Database
  4. Gather the Appropriate Files and Correct Fees
  5. Complete Your Applications
  6. Track Your Applications’ Status
  7. Stay On Top of Deadlines and Maintain Registration

Make sure that you follow the links above or see this review topic at the end to understand more.

The Brand Name Trademarking Basic Guidelines

Notably, businesses often underestimate the importance of brand name trademarking in regards to protecting their business and general products. Additionally, many incorrectly believe the process of registering a trademark to be equally expensive and time-consuming.

In general, Trademarks fall into one of two categories; trademarks or service marks. To enumerate, a Trademark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods.

Especially, those of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. Whereas, a Service Mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used in commerce.

In particular, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.

Learn Also: Basics About Applying For An International Trademark

You’ve likely put a lot of time, energy, and money into your brand. The last thing you want is for others to leverage your hard work for their own benefit by using your company name or logo to deceive customers.

Fortunately, you can help prevent your brand’s identifiers from being stolen with a registered trademark. During the Brand Name Trademarking process, brand names and trademarks are valuable assets to every business. Often, a brand or trademark becomes synonymous with the product.

Because of this, many companies want to protect their brands from others who may try to copy or misrepresent their name. Below are additional facts to consider while naming your brand such as:

Trademark & Patronage

The proposed company name cannot infringe on a registered trademark or an application for the registration of a trademark. The point often overlooked, a company name cannot imply association or connection with or patronage of a national hero. Or even any person held in high esteem or important personages. Who occupied or occupied important positions in Government. The proposed name cannot imply an association with the Kenyan or Foreign Government.

Identical or Similar

Notably, the proposed company name cannot be identical or similar to an existing company or LLP, or trademark. Plural version, joining or separating words, spacing, different tenses, different spelling, an addition of the place, the addition of titles, and other minor differences would not make a name unique.

Constitution

Also, the proposed company names cannot include words indicative of a separate type of business constitution or legal person or any connotation. For example, words like co-operative, serikali, trust, partnership, proprietor, society, HUF, Firm, Inc., GmbH, SA, PTE, Sdn, AG cannot be a part of the company name.

Authorized Capital

For the proposed company names that include words like international, globe, universal, continental, Asiatic, Asia, industries, enterprises, products, business, and others may require the company to have a minimum authorized capital.

Regulatory Approval

Brand Names that include words like insurance, bank, stock exchange, venture capital, asset management, mutual fund, or other financial activity may require approval from Regulatory Bodies. The trademark application process is a legal proceeding governed by any law of the land. Click the image for more if you are in the U.S.

A Good Brand Name Trademarking Features

The whole idea behind the registration of business names as trademarks is that they should help distinguish one business from any other. The more distinctive your name is, the easier it will be to register. However, a good Brand Name for Brand Name Trademarking should have some of the following characteristics.

It should:–
  1. Be unique/distinctive (for instance: – Kodak, Mustang)
  2. Extendable.
  3. Easy to pronounce, identified, and memorized. (For instance: – jmexclusives)
  4. Give an idea of the product’s qualities and benefits (For instance: – Swift, Quickfix, Lifeguard).
  5. Easily convertible into foreign languages.
  6. Capable of legal protection and registration.
  7. Suggest product/service category (For instance Newsweek).
  8. Indicate concrete qualities (For instance Firebird).
  9. Not portray bad/wrong meanings in other categories.

Follow the video explainer provided below for more instruction details.

Overall, registration of your Trade Mark gives you an exclusive right to that mark. It is evident that the mark is yours and it affords you legal rights against others who may want to infringe your right to that mark.

The Main Brand Name Trademarking Benefits 

Any company can try to prevent another business or individual from using its trademark. However, to prevent this passing off, you would need to prove that the trademark is yours, establish that you have built a reputation based on it, and show that your business has been harmed by the other party’s use of it. Not easy.

This is where registration comes in. When you formally register a trademark, you can easily take legal action against any business or person that uses it without your permission. Equally, you can also show people that your trademark is registered. And deter them from abusing it. In particular,  by adding the ® symbol.

Formally registering this trademark allows a business to legally protect its trademark and its brand. Below are additional key beneficial factors to put in mind while doing a brand name trademarking.

The limits of registration

There are, as you might expect, some limits as to what business names can be registered as a trademark. A registered trademark obviously can’t use swear words or be offensive or pornographic. And it can’t be misleading.

But perhaps less obviously, it can’t simply describe the product or service; and it can’t be common or non-distinctive in the relevant industry sector. This means that a furniture company can’t register the name ‘Wooden’ as a trademark, and a drinks company can’t register the name ‘refreshing’.

Trademarking process

As a matter of fact, protecting your brand and products is just as important as protecting any other business asset. Thereafter identifying a great business name, a business should consider registering its brand name as a trademark. Applying to register your business name as a trademark is actually a fairly straightforward process, especially in Kenya.

However, when it comes to registering trademarks, it’s first to come, first served. So initially, you should run some quick online checks to make sure that an identical name – or a name that’s very similar – hasn’t already been registered by someone else.

Trademark Registration Process In Kenya

Important to realize, that the Trade Mark Act (Cap 506) of the Laws of Kenya regulates all Trademarks. The institution charged with the mandate to register trademarks is the Kenya Industrial Property Institute(hereinafter “KIPI”).

However, before applying for the registration of a trademark, an applicant should conduct a search to find out whether the trademark is registrable or not. And also whether there exists in the records a trademark that could be confused with the intended trademark.

An application for search and preliminary advice by the registrar should be made by the prospecting proprietor or his agent on Form TM 27. Search is not mandatory but is advisable for the following two reasons;

  1. It will help one in determining whether the application has a chance for success.
  2. Determines whether it would be a waste of time and money to try and register it in its present form.

Requirements for Registration of a Trademark in Kenya

  • Name of a company, individual, or firm, represented in a special or particular manner.
  • The signature of the applicant for registration.
  • An invented word or invented words.
  • Any other distinctive mark.

With that in mind, let’s now have a look at the Key Procedures of Brand Name Trademarking in Kenya.

(a) Preliminary search

A search has to be conducted before applying for registration to find out if the Trademark can be registered or not. Registration will be refused if the mark/ sign resembles another registered Trademark.

Though not mandatory it is important to conduct a search before proceeding with the registration process to avoid spending time and money on an application that will be refused. The relevant form is Form TM 27.

(b) Application for registration of Trademark

After conducting your Preliminary search to your satisfaction with the Marks registration, the next step is to make an application for your registration. This is usually available in the form of Form TM 2 and TM 32.

For foreign companies to register their Trademarks in Kenya they have to appoint an agent in Kenya and as such, they will in addition to Form TM 2 and TM 32 require Form TM 1 for an appointment of the agent.

(c) Examination stage

At this stage, the Registrar examines your application thoroughly. To ensure the correct filling of the documents. And also, to make sure your mark does not resemble any other Trademark in the registry.

An examination report is then issued, and the report will inform you whether your mark has been approved for registration or not. If it gets approval, you’ll need to pay for both the advertisement fee and registration fee.

(d) Advertisement stage

 If the Registrar approves the mark for registration he will instruct you to pay an advertisement fee. There will be an advert for the mark in the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) journal for 60 days. More so, to allow any person opposing the registration of your mark to raise their objection.

If no opposition comes in, it proceeds to registration. If a submission of opposition kicks in, however, a notice of opposition in the form of Form TM 6 is due and opposition proceedings begin.

(e) Brand Name Trademarking & Registration

This is the final stage in the registration process. If there’s no opposition upon advertisement, the application registry goes on. And then, the Registrar will issue a certificate of registration of the Trademark.

Forms for Brand Name Trademarking:
  1. TM 27 (not mandatory but advisable).
  2. The TM 2 Form – Application for registration of Trademark.
  3. A Form TM 32 – Application to enter or alter the address of service.
  4. Forms TM 1 – For foreign applicants (appointment of agents).

So go ahead and register that mark in Kenya that distinguishes your product, and your services from your competitors. A good brand name can be an entity’s biggest asset.

Registering a trademark for your company’s name and logo can be an expensive and time-consuming process. However, the protections a trademark offers are not something to overlook. For one thing, it can prove worth the effort of registration by preventing damage to your brand’s image. To start your registration process, please Click Here!

Summing Up,

In conclusion, do you have that mark, that word, that sign, or brand that you identify with? Well, until you register it, it is not yours and you have no exclusive claim to it. Well, as you can see, a trademark is a mark or sign that distinguishes the goods of one entity from another.

On one hand, the Trademark may consist of one or more distinctive words, letters, numbers, drawings, pictures, signatures, colors, or a combination of all these. On the other hand, a Service Mark is a sign which serves to distinguish the services of one entity from another.

It may consist of the same characteristics as those of a Trade Mark. Generally speaking, any individual, company, partnership, or society can register a Trademark as long as they meet the necessary requirements.

Resourceful References:
  1. Kipi – Trademark Registration Procedure
  2. Invention – Trademark Basics
  3. India Filings – Easily Register a Company
  4. Novanym – Trademarking your business name – 11 key facts
  5. Free search for international trademark availability: TM View
  6. World Intellectual Property Office: WIPO
  7. WIPO: Fee calculator
  8. Trademarkia: Registering a trademark
  9. Capita Registrars – Registration of Trademarks in Kenya
  10. Elegant Themes: How to Register a Trademark for Your Company Name and Logo

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