On the one hand, Brand Name Trademarking protects certain kinds of intellectual properties. In most cases, it can apply to any unique symbol, name, device, or word that identifies a company or product. On the other hand, intelligent business people instinctively understand the benefit of finding a brand name for their business such that it has the highest potential to develop into a trademark.
Not to mention that they know that brand name trademarking is of great value to their business and product credibility. Remember, you can only trademark a brand name that you’re using in business or that you intend to use in business soon. You can’t register a generic or descriptive brand name. Your trademark name has to be distinctive or unique in some way to be approved.
The name can’t create a likelihood of confusion among consumers. Of course, trademarking your brand is great if you’re worried about people using it unfairly without your permission. At the same time, it’s also great if you’re expanding to operate in several states. However, a trademark is never essential – it just offers extra protection – and obtaining it can be a long-term process.
In other words, 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. Let’s explore why it matters and the simple steps to do it right.
Understand What A Brand Name Trademarking And Protection Process Entails
Think of all you’ve invested in building your brand. You’ve crafted a brand identity that appeals to customers and differentiates you from competitors. You have poured money and time into delivering excellent products or services that cement your reputation for quality. Also, you have probably thought long and hard about selecting the brand name, domain name, and logo, right?
You want something that’ll make the best first impression and represent your goods and services well. As a rule of thumb, the last thing you want is for others to leverage your hard work for their benefit by using your company name or logo to deceive customers. Fortunately, knowing how to trademark a name can help prevent your brand reputation awareness identifiers from being stolen.
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 brand names or logos that could be easily confused with yours. All brand elements are trademarked as soon as they’re in use. Furthermore, you may design a logo for social profiles.
Technically, it’s illegal if someone else copies your logo. However, it’s wise to register your trademarks formally. If you don’t, taking action against anyone who tries to steal your branding can be more challenging. 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 fake goods.
Some brands and businesses may also offer customers low-quality versions of your products. Additionally, they could even scam customers by taking their money fraudulently while never planning on delivering a product. On the contrary, while common law and state law trademark rights still exist, they provide significantly less protection than federal trademark registration.
Any of these situations would reflect poorly on your brand and business entity. Some customers may blame your company for poor-quality items or for losing money. The Trademark is registered in a unique form format for many goods and services, including “computer search engine software” and “Application Service Provider (ASP) services, namely, hosting software applications of others.”
To get started successfully:
- Consider Hiring a Trademark Attorney
- Specify Your ‘Mark’ and Associated Products or Services
- Search for Similar Marks in the USPTO Database
- Gather the Appropriate Files and Correct Fees
- Complete Your Applications
- Track Your Applications’ Status
- Stay On Top of Deadlines and Maintain Registration
Ensure you follow the links above or see this review topic at the end to understand more.
The Brand Name Trademarking Basic Features And Simple Guidelines
Notably, businesses often underestimate the importance of brand name trademarking in protecting their business and general products. Additionally, many incorrectly believe the process of registering a trademark to be equally expensive and time-consuming. Trademarks generally fall into one of two categories: trademarks or service marks. To enumerate, a Trademark is simple.
It can be any word, name, symbol, device, or 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. At the same time, a Service Mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or 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. You’ve likely invested much time, energy, and money into your brand. The last thing you want is for others to leverage your hard work for their 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. Brand names and trademarks are valuable assets to every business during the Brand Name trademark process. 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.
1. Trademark & Patronage
The proposed company name cannot infringe on a registered trademark or an application for trademark registration. The point often overlooked is that 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 essential positions in Government? The proposed name cannot imply an association with the Kenyan or Foreign Government.
2. Identical Or Similar
Notably, the proposed company name cannot be identical or similar to an existing company LLP or trademark. Plural versions, joining or separating words, spacing, different tenses, different spelling, an addition of the place, titles, and other minor differences would not make a name unique.
3. The 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, and AG cannot be a part of the company name.
4. Authorized Capital
For the proposed company, names like international, global, universal, continental, Asiatic, Asia, industries, enterprises, products, business, and others may require the company to have a minimum authorized capital.
5. 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. Usually, the trademark application process is a legal proceeding governed by any law of the land. The idea behind registering business names as trademarks is to help distinguish one business from another. Still, the more distinctive your name is, the easier it will be to trademark it. However, a good Brand Name for a trademark should have some of the following characteristics.
- Be unique/distinctive (for instance: – Kodak, Mustang)
- Easy to pronounce, identify, and memorize. (For instance: – jmexclusives)
- Give an idea of the product’s qualities and benefits (For example: – Swift, Quickfix, Lifeguard).
- Easily convertible into foreign languages.
- Capable of legal protection and registration.
- Suggest product/service category (For instance, Newsweek).
- Indicate concrete qualities (For instance, Firebird).
- Do not portray bad/wrong meanings in other categories.
Almost anything can be a trademark if it indicates the source of your goods and services. It could be a word, slogan, design, or combination. It could even be a sound, a scent, or a color. Overall, registration of your trademark gives you an exclusive right to that mark. It is evident that the brand mark is yours and affords you legal rights against others who may want to infringe on your right to it.
Getting To Know The Main Brand Name Trademarking Benefits
With so many resources and so much of yourself invested in your brand’s intellectual property, it makes sense to preserve that invaluable identity with the most robust protection possible, and that’s exactly what a trademark can provide. Cultivating a brand from the ground up without securing trademark protection is like leaving a Rolls Royce on a skid row with faulty doors.
Or you are having the keys and title sitting on the hood. Your brand’s identity is too precious to risk. Trademarking can safeguard your brand and protect the financial future of your business by ensuring you have legal recourse if someone else starts infringing on your marks. To understand what a trademark can do for brand identity, you must first understand what it is and why it exists.
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a trademark is a word, phrase, or symbol that “identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” A trademark can be your business name, logo, slogan, or a combination thereof. Any company can try to prevent another business or individual from using its brand trademark.
However, to prevent this passing off, you would need to prove that the brand 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.
The abiding regulations
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 brand trademark is registered. And deter them from abusing it. In particular, by adding the ® symbol. Formally registering this trademark allows a business to protect its trademark and its brand legally. Below are additional vital beneficial factors to remember while doing a brand name trademark.
The limits of registration
As you might expect, some limits exist on what business names can be registered as trademarks. 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; it can’t be expected or non-distinct 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 brand name ‘refreshing.’
The trademarking process
Protecting your brand and products is as important as protecting any other business asset. After that, while 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 a reasonably straightforward process, especially in Kenya. However, when registering trademarks, it’s first to arrive, first served. So initially, you should run some quick online checks to make sure that an identical name – or a very similar name – hasn’t already been registered by someone else.
The General Public Brand/Business Name Trademark Registration Process
As mentioned, to protect yourself, 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 using brand names or logos that could be easily confused with yours.
It’s critical 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(from now on, “KIPI”). However, before applying for the registration of a brand, an applicant should 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 brand 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 various reasons.
Consider the following:
- It will help one determine whether the application has a chance for success.
- 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 unique 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 examine 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 essential to 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 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 resistance in Form TM 6 is due, and opposition proceedings begin.
(e) Brand Name Trademarking & Registration
This is the final stage of the registration process. If there’s no opposition upon advertisement, the application registry goes on. Then, the Registrar will issue a certificate of registration of the Trademark.
Forms for Brand Name Trademarking:
- TM 27 (not mandatory but advisable).
- The TM 2 Form – Application for registration of Trademark.
- A Form TM 32 – Application to enter or alter the service address.
- Forms TM 1 – For foreign applicants (appointment of agents).
So register that mark in Kenya that distinguishes your product and 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 expensive and time-consuming. 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!
In conclusion, do you have that mark, that word, that sign, or a brand 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, etc.
As well as 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 trademark. Generally speaking, any individual, company, partnership, or society can register a Trademark if they meet the requirements.
Related Resourceful References:
- Kipi – Trademark Registration Procedure
- Novanym – Trademarking your business name – 11 key facts
- Free search for international trademark availability: TM View
- World Intellectual Property Office: WIPO
- WIPO: Fee calculator
- Trademarkia: Registering a trademark
- Capita Registrars – Registration of Trademarks in Kenya
- Elegant Themes: How to Register a Trademark for Your Company Name and Logo
Finally, you can see other related referral brands or featured affiliate products, trending topics, business profiles, and product reviews through our Blog for more resources. In addition, you too can submit your digital brand, online business, company, or even product profile through our main Contacts Page to get listed, primarily through our free featuring (affiliate marketing) program.