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A trademark distinguishes your business or brand’s products and services from similar competitors. It can come in the form of names, words, letters, signatures, logos, or any combination of such elements.
Examples of trademarks you can consider registering are:
• Brand names or logos of business or company
• Brand names or logos of your products or services
• Brand names or logos of your retail shop or online store
• Brand names or logos of your events
In general, registering your brand name in plain fonts, such as Arial font, would give you broader rights. This is so as it would give you rights over the words themselves rather than the logo in a particular stylisation. Most of the time, customers are more likely to remember your brand name more strongly compared to how the logo has been stylised. As such, it is usually more important to protect the brand name.
To apply for protection of your brand name in plain font, you can simply type your brand name in the text box in the first step of the online form.
However, if your stylised logo contains a graphic or icon that is separate from the brand name, for example, the Nike swoosh, you may wish to file for the logo that incorporates the graphic and brand name as a single trademark. This is a good option, especially if you are sure that your company will not change the logo anytime soon.
If you also intend to use the graphical element in your logo on its own in some of your marketing collaterals, registering the graphical element as a separate trademark will be a good idea as well.
To apply for protection of your stylised logo, you can simply upload your logo in the first step of the online form.
Your trademark helps your customers to recognise your products and services easily. It is as such one of your company’s most essential assets. If another company were to use your trademark, or in a worse case, register your trademark and demand that you stop using it, there might not be any recourse to regain control over the use of your trademark. Even if it were possible to regain control in certain cases, it would come at a higher cost.
Registering your trademark will give you exclusive rights to use the trademark for your products or services and ensure that you can retain control over its use. As such, the registration will provide your business with more certainty as you invest money in developing your brand and growing your customer reach. If you are looking for investors to invest in your company, this would definitely be a plus point in assessing your company.
By registering your trademark, you can also:
1. Use the ® symbol next to your brand
2. Deter other brands and businesses from using it
3. Enable third party licensing and earn from them
4. Sell it in the future for a higher value
Once you register for a trademark, it will last for ten years from the filing date and will be renewable every ten years thereafter. For most countries, you will be able to renew the registration within six months before or after the expiry date.
The TM (™) and ® symbols are not the same thing. The TM symbol lets others know that the logo or name is being used as a trademark but need not be registered or protected. The ® symbol can only be used after it has been registered as a trademark and is now protected by trademark law. Using the ® symbol on an unregistered trademark is an offence, and there are legal repercussions.
Registering your company name with ACRA, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), is the mandatory requirement for starting a new business in Singapore while registering your domain name with SGNIC or any other domain registry is essential for reserving a .com.sg or .sg domain of your choice. However, neither of these will give you the rights of a registered trademark.
A trademark registration provides you with the exclusive rights to your brand. This is something the ACRA or SGNIC registration cannot do. In other words, if another company uses your company name or domain name as his trademark or the brand of his products or services, it will be almost impossible to stop him from using your branding without a trademark registration. This is especially so for smaller companies with new brands that do not have a strong reputation in the market.
If you intend to use your company name as the brand of your products and services, it will be a good idea to register it as a trademark with the relevant IP office.
It is recommended that you register your trademark at the earliest opportunity to ensure that your application does not face any objections due to similarity with another business or brand.
You can apply for a trademark before official use, as long as you intend to use the trademark within the next three years. In Singapore, a longer timeline of five years is given for trademark owners to start using their trademarks after registration. If the trademark is found to have not been used after the applicable timeline, a third party may initiate a proceeding to remove your trademark from the register so that it would be available for use and registration by another party.
If you are looking to register your trademark, you can do so by filling up the online application form above, and we will assist you in the procedure.
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