- A trademark is a sign/mark/symbol utilised by a person or company in the course of business or trade to distinguish goods or services from those of other traders. Registering a trademark gives the owner the right to ownership and prevents others from using a similar mark without permission. Trademark registration adds great value to business.
- The owner of the registered trademark can exploit his mark in many ways. He may use it to better protect his market share (i.e. his profits) by barring others from copying it; he may license it to third parties for commercial returns (e.g. through a franchise); he may sell the mark outright for a specified value (e.g. in a company acquisition); or he may use the mark to raise equity for his business undertakings.
- Trademark can be represented graphically in form of any letter, word, name, signature, numeral, device, brand, heading, label, ticket, shape, colour, aspect of packaging or a combination of these.
- ® and ™ are common symbols associated with trade marks. ® indicates that the mark is a registered trademark and hence protected under the trademark law. ™ is just a symbol used to indicate that the company is trademarking the mark. It does not denote that the mark is registered nor protected under the trademark law.
- Under Section 47, anyone who uses the ® to a mark when it is not registered in Singapore (having it registered overseas is not an excuse) is liable to an offence that carries a penalty of S$100, 000 and/or a jail term of 5 years.
- For a mark that is not registered, the owner can only rely on the common law action of “passing off” to protect his mark against imitation or infringement. This remedy, however, requires the owner of the mark to prove his reputation and goodwill. The requirement of proving reputation and goodwill may pose some problems where the business, or the use of the trademark, has not been established for a substantial period of time.
- A registered trademark, on the other hand, grants the owner of the trademark a statutory monopoly. If someone else uses the same or a similar mark on the same or similar goods or services in respect of which the mark is registered, the registered trademark owner can rely on his registration as proof of his right to the mark and sue for infringement.