Why should I Trademark?
As a business owner, you invest in IT Security, insurance and alarm systems to protect the physical aspects so it would be reckless not to protect your identity and future business. In Ireland, we advise that you trademark any branding associated with your business to prevent any other company benefiting from your brand recognition by using your name to sell their Products.
A trademark is a distinctive graphic representation used by you or your company to distinguish yourself from other similar businesses. You can trademark various elements of your brand, such as logos, slogans, signs, even specific colour schemes.
Registering a trademark makes it much easier to protect your product; it stops others from selling or distributing a similar product without your permission. It also prevents people from “piggybacking” on your success by marketing their similar product in the same way as yours.
In Ireland, there are mainly five different types of trademarks your business can acquire, and often it is suggested you apply for more than one depending on the protection you require.
Five trademark options are:
- The Ordinary/Standard Trademark – This represents the majority of trademarks in Ireland, it can consist of a set of words, a slogan, or a device.
- The Collection Mark – This is a form of a trademark that consists of a mark that distinguishes the goods or services of the members of an association from those of others. If your product is part of an association of goods, this mark will show that.
- The Certification Mark – This is a mark that “certifies” the goods or services provided as possessing certain qualities, or that the goods or services are of particular standard or other characteristics.
- A Series of Trademarks – A series of trademarks is several marks which resemble each other in their essential features, and differ only in minor features which do not substantially affect the identity of the mark.
- The Three Dimensional Mark – This is a mark used to protect the shape of an item or an item’s packaging.
If you do not get a trademark for your product or service, it is a much longer and more laborious process to protect yourself if a dispute arises. If a dispute arises and you did not register your trademark, the often suggested pathway to solving the conflict is bringing a “passing off” action against the other party which is usually a lengthy and expensive option. “Passing off” claims are notoriously difficult to prove, meaning you could end up losing the case; if this were to happen, you could not only be liable for your legal fees but the legal costs of the other party. Register your trademark as soon as you can to avoid this process.
While this trademark does not protect your product abroad, you can apply for a trademark to protect your product in EU countries by applying to the European Union Intellectual Property Office located in Alicante, Spain.
Protect your product outside the EU by making an application to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
To get all your answers on trademarking answered, contact us for a consultation.