The most sensible way as a business owner in Singapore to protect your brand is to apply for a trademark registration at IPOS. This way, you can confidently build your company’s image with a peace of mind knowing that the civil and intellectual property laws of the country will protect you.
Having a trademark for your business is important to secure brand protection. Small-scale businesses often make the mistake of being complacent about what competition is willing to do to attract customers, so it is not unusual for other companies to take advantage of a product’s popularity by copying it. If you need assistance on your Singapore trademark registration, we recommend Brandmark for filing your emblem.
To give you an idea of the difference a registered mark can make, here is a list of its advantages and disadvantages.
• If you create a TM, you also essentially create a unique identity for your company that will make you stand out from your competition. Ever heard of the term brand loyalty? There are customers who will only look for the brand name they trust whenever they purchase. This good reputation comes from positive experience and feedback of the products and/or services associated with that brand. But there are a lot of fakes in the market nowadays, and the only way to tell the real ones is through the trademark.
• Your company does not need to re-brand if it has infringed on an existing registered trademark. Your company does not need to prove that it is authentic and that it owns the trademark because the state recognizes it. Even those companies that are still trying to build their brand can learn a thing or two by doing a trade mark search to avoid infringing on other registered marks.
• A trademark is only protected in certain countries or territories. For example, if you apply in Singapore, it will only be protected in the country. To afford that protection in other countries, you must first register in the country of origin then apply for international registration via Madrid Protocol.
• A trademark should be used for at least five continuous years to enjoy protection. You don’t have to worry about how to renew trademark or how to pay the trademark renewal fee annually. There’s no need to reissue a new certificate for your Singapore business every year as the certificate is valid for ten years and is renewable, however, as long as the brand is still used.
• Your trademark is also protected from being used for other activities without your approval. Not only will it deter competitors selling the same products and/or services, but you can also control how your company’s name is used or advertised, even online.
• If your trademark application is approved, your brand is secure from copycats and impostors. This means that if there is a violation, your company can sue for damages. The burden of proof will be on the unregistered trademark, not on you. This also applies internationally if your company has applied for protection of the trademark via the Madrid Protocol. Companies that wish to expand or export should consider this to avoid brand theft.
• The trademark will only protect the goods and/services you have listed under it for a certain period. But as long as you have fulfilled all the requirements and have anticipated with products and/or services your company wishes to expand into, this is a minor problem.
• Have the best logo designer create a distinct symbol for your Singapore brand and consider it an investment. This helps make your trademark more secure than it already is. A logo design allows your customers to easily recognize your brand visually. Some creative companies also offer you a unique emblem sketch.
• If your application to register trademark is approved, competition will be deterred from using your brand, copying it, or using a confusingly similar logo or design on their products. It is a common tactic in the market nowadays to make nearly-similar products and paste on the brand or logo of the original product. Commonplace products are the usual victims of this, especially when there are copycats in the international market. It not only hurts profits, but it can also tarnish the name of the original company that owns the trademark.
• The cost of filing a trademark is based on the number and classification of the goods and/or services sold or rendered under the brand. If your company also decides to change it, you will need a new trademark registration.
• If you have a brand name registry, your company has a name to build on. You will be motivated to maintain excellent brand consistency because it is your most valuable asset. The brand represents your company’s strengths and place in the market. It is how your customers and potential customers will distinguish you from others. Customers are more likely to trust companies that assure quality in their goods and/services. You can, however, sell, license and designate your company’s brand name to approved parties if you want other potential revenue sources.