A trademark is a core aspect of a brand and a highly effective marketing tool in any business. The increasingly international nature of business, heavily competitive markets and the need to seek protection against unfair competition have made the early registration and systematic management of trademarks ever more important. Companies that protect their brands with trademarks, use their trademarks wisely and protect their rights are well positioned to surpass their competition.
A trademark can be any symbol that can be presented graphically – a word, pattern, combination of letters, number, slogan, sound, or the shape of the product or its packaging. Exclusive rights to a trademark are usually obtained by applying for trademark registration. Registration requires that the trademark can be used to distinguish the products and services of the trademark holder from those of others. Moreover, the trademark must not be easily confused with those already registered by others. Registration gives the holder exclusive rights to use the trademark. It also entitles the holder to prohibit others from using the trademark or any easily mistakable trademark.
Registered trademarks are divided into goods and services, and these main categories have various subclasses. This means that different applicants can register identical trademarks in different subclasses.
A trademark is integral to brand building in a company. A strong trademark is an investment that increases in value if managed well.
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