May 16, 2022
# Introduction to Trademarks

Trademark Basics: What Is A Trademark Registration And What Does It Protect?

Trademark Basics: What Is A Trademark Registration And What Does It Protect?

In short, a trademark helps your brand and company stand out in the marketplace. Businesses and brands typically register their specific product names, slogans, or logos as trademarks to protect them. Intellectual property protection can also be applied to inventions and authorship. However, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) will not approve trademark applications for anything descriptive, generic, or similar to an already registered trademark in Singapore.

What is covered by a registered trademark?

Trademark registration protects your company’s brand from being stolen by competitors. However, do note that owning a trademark registration does not mean you monopolize the mark for all types of products and services. If a third-party business uses the same trademark for a different trade from what your trademark has been registered for, it is not considered an infringement. As such, during the application process, it is important for you to clearly define what products and services your business has been providing, or intends to do so, under that brand.

When you register a trademark in Singapore, it is important to note that trademark rights are territorial in nature. This means that filing your trademark in Singapore, for example, does not give you any rights to your trademark in Malaysia or Australia. In order to have the rights to your trademark in these countries, you would need to file an application with each of the trademark offices in these countries.

Across the world, trademarks are generally registered for a 10-year period and can be renewed every 10 years thereafter. This makes trademarks the only kind of intellectual property that can into perpetuity, as long as the registration is renewed.

What cannot be registered as a registered trademark?

Coming up with a brand or trademark is often an exciting journey for a new business. However, during the creative process, it is important to be mindful that the following kinds of trademarks are not registrable in most countries:

  • Names of famous people without consent from them
  • Generic phrases and terms
  • Political symbols or emblem
  • Vulgar or belittling phrases and words
  • Words or images with deceptive, scandalous, or immoral connotation

Out of the above, the most common pitfall for new companies is coming up with a brand name that is too generic when used on their services or products. For example, “The Repair Outlet” for a business that provides repair services. Using a more generic name, or one that closely describes your products or services, can enable your brand to inform your customers what your business does. However, choosing such a brand name can drastically affect the chances of being able to secure a trademark registration.

Final thoughts

A strong trademark registration is necessary for your company’s success. It increases brand recognition, boosts customer loyalty and reliance, and ensures legal protections in case of potential infringement from someone else.

When filing a trademark registration, be mindful of the various elements in your trademark or brand. The company name, symbol, and logo can be filed as separate trademark applications, or filed together as a single trademark. The resulting rights from filing separate applications could be quite different from filing a single trademark that combines all the elements. As such, it would be important to consult an expert in trademarks before filing for a registration.

If you are looking to file a trademark application in Singapore, the experienced team at Cat and Pillar is here to guide you. We provide professional trademark solutions such as online trademark renewals in Singapore, and have expertise in both national filings and filings via the Madrid Protocol, which allows you to register trademarks in multiple nations within one application. Learn more about our services at

Introduction to Trademarks