What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a letter, word, name, signature, numeral, device, brand, heading, label, shape, color, aspect of packaging or a combination of these, which is used in the course of a business or trade to distinguish a person’s goods or services from those of others.
Over a period of time trademarks also gain a strong recall value and command significant monetary value. A registered trade mark is a form of property and it can be licensed or assigned.
How do you identify a Trademark?
Commonly-used symbols to identify a trademark are ® and TM. The 2 symbols are different in the following ways:
- ® refers to a registered and protected trade mark pursuant to trade mark laws; whereas
- ™ merely identifies that the mark is being used as a trademark by the owner, but the mark is not necessarily registered or protected under trademark laws.
Why should you register a Trademark?
A registered trademark grants the owner of the mark, the statutory right to use and exploit the mark in the jurisdiction of its registration and certain priorities and advantages in registering the trademark in other jurisdictions.
Some of the key benefits include:
- Right to exclusive usage of the mark
- Barring others from copying it
- Benefiting from the increasing market value of the mark
- Quality assurance for your customers
- Branding through mark recognition
- License for commercial use by third parties thus creating a source of revenue
- Up to 400% tax rebates from the Singapore Government under the Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme to offset costs you incur for registering your Trade Mark.
What is the validity period of a registered Trademark?
The registration of a trademark is valid for 10 years from the date of application. It can be renewed indefinitely for 10 years at one time by paying the applicable renewal fee.
What is the Registration process?
With our vast experience in registering trademarks for various industries, we are able to assist you from end to end in submitting a Trademark Registration Application.
Trademark Registration Process
The steps involved in Registration are as follows:
Step 1: Creating a Distinctive Trademark
We advise that you design a distinctive trademark.
Avoid trademarks that:
- denote the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, the time of production of goods or of rendering of services;
- consist of common surnames or geographical names;
- conflict with an earlier trade mark; or
- mislead the public about the nature of the goods or services.
However, if you have an existing Trademark which you have been using in other jurisdictions but which are likely to violate any of the conditions above, you can prove that the mark is being used for a substantial time and has gained a market recognition.
Step 2: Identification of Applicable Class of Goods/Services
The scope of a trade mark registration is determined by the goods or services in relation to which the trade mark is registered. Singapore follows the International Classification of Goods and Services as prescribed by the Nice Agreement to classify trademarks.
There are a total of 34 classes of goods and 11 classes of services.
While determining the applicable classes, you should not only consider the existing business you are in, but also any business you are likely to go into, in near future. We will be happy to help you in determining the classes that are best applicable to your business.
Step 3: Application filing
The minimum filing requirements consist of:
- A statement that you request a registration.
- Your name and address.
- A clear graphical representation of your mark. For marks comprising of a three-dimensional shape of the goods or packaging, line drawings should clearly show all dimensions of the mark.
- A list of goods and services that you are registering in relation to the mark (that are classified in accordance with the International Classification of Goods and Services).
- A declaration of your proposed use of the trade mark.
Step 4: Review by Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS)
Once the trademark application has been received, IPOS will review it to ensure that the application meets the minimum filing requirements.
Once the minimum filing requirements are met, the date of filing is accorded and a Trade Mark number is issued. This information is sent via the Acknowledgment letter.
If one or more of the minimum filing requirements are not met, a Deficiency Letter will be sent to remedy within 2 months from date of Letter. This timeline is not extendible.
In the event that the applicant does not remedy the deficiencies or remedies the deficiencies out of time, IPOS will send a Letter notifying the applicant that the application is Deemed Never to Have Been Made.
Step 5: Examination for conflicts with existing trademarks and Legality
Once the above step is complete, the registrar will conduct a formal search for conflicting marks, geographical names and conformance to the international classification of goods and services. In the case of pharmaceutical products, the Registry of Trade Marks will also need to check whether the mark consists of a protected International Non-Proprietary Name (INN). The INNs, furnished by the World Health Organization, are generic names for specific pharmaceutical substances.
The application will be examined to determine whether the mark is registrable in accordance with Singapore Trademark Laws.
If the requirements are not satisfied, IPOS will issue a letter stating the refusals/requirements. Response must be submitted within 4 months from the date of issuance of the IPOS letter. If additional time is required to respond to the IPOS letter, request for an extension of time before the expiry of the time period needs to be submitted. If no response or request for an extension of time is received within the stipulated time period, the Trade Mark will be treated as Withdrawn.
Step 6: Advertisement for public scrutiny
Upon successful completion of the above step, the application will be published and made available to the public. Within 2 months of the publication period, any interested party will be able to oppose the registration of the mark.
If the trademarks office receives an objection from an opponent, the applicant will be notified and must respond. A decision on the application will be made after hearing both parties.
Step 7: Successful registration
If there is no opposition, or if outcome of the opposition hearing is in favour of you, a Certificate of Registration would be issued and the Trade Mark would be granted protection for 10 years.
Tax Benefits and Trademark Registration
You get up to 400% tax rebates from the Singapore Government under the Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme to offset costs you incur for registering your Trade Mark.
To proceed to register your Singapore Trademark, contact us.