You came up with your own unique brand and you are excited to release it to the public, but word on the street is that there are unregistered businesses selling similar but lesser quality products like yours.
You fear that your brand might be placed on those products, jeopardizing the good name of your brand. All the time and effort you put into ensuring your products are of the best quality, only for the market to turn away due to false usage of your brand.
You seek advice and are told to consider protecting your brand by registering for a trademark.
But what is a trademark?
Trademark means any sign used to distinguish goods and services of different enterprises. In order to obtain a trademark in Brunei, there are some important things you need to know.
Below is a list of the 10 frequent questions asked when seeking to register a trademark in Brunei.
1. What can be protected as a trademark in Brunei?
A registrable trademark in Brunei is one that can include a mark or sign in the form of letters, names, words, devices, three-dimensional shapes, packaging, slogans, colours, holograms or trade dress/get-up.
2. Must I be the creator of the trademark for me to register the mark under my name?
No, unlike copyright and industrial design law which confers first ownership to the creator of the intellectual property, trademark law confers ownership based on a first-use basis.
3. How can I protect my trademark in Brunei?
In Brunei, trademark protection can be obtained through registration or through use. In some countries, you can only establish rights in trademarks when you actually register them.
4. When should I register my trademark in Brunei?
Register your trademark at the earliest opportunity. This is because if another similar or identical trademark is filed earlier than yours, your trademark application may face an objection.
If you have filed for the same trademark in another country (which is either a member of the Paris Convention or the World Trade Organization) within 6 months and that application is the first filing, you may file for priority claim in your Brunei trademark application. Should a similar mark be filed in Brunei by another party after your priority date (i.e. the date your application is first filed), your application will have priority over the other party’s application.
5. Is a trademark search necessary to be conducted before the trademark filing in Brunei?
A trademark search allows you to check and determine whether the mark you intend to register is available for registration in Brunei under the relevant class of goods/services. This helps ensure that there are no other possible conflicting marks in the class. With a search, you will be able to change your brand if there is a similar brand already on the register or pending registration in Brunei.
6. What are the criteria for filing a trademark application in Brunei?
To register your trademark, it must:
- be capable of being represented graphically
- be capable of distinguishing your goods or services from others
- be distinctive
- not be descriptive of the goods or services, or customary in current language or established practices of the trade
- not be confusingly similar to an existing trade mark on the register
It’s important that you consult and engage a reputable IP firm to ensure that all the criteria in registering your trademark in Brunei have been met so that you can get approval as quickly as possible.
7. How long does the trademark registration last?
The registration will be valid for ten (10) years from the date of filing of the trademark.
8. Can the trademark registration be renewed?
Yes. The trademark registration is renewable for an extended period of ten (10) years by submitting the prescribed form and payment for renewal.
9. Is the trademark registration in Brunei valid in another country?
No, trademark protection is territorial in nature. As such, a trademark registered in Brunei is only protected within Brunei Darussalam.
10. Can other people use my trademark once I’ve registered it?
No, being a registered proprietor of a trademark means you have the exclusive right over your trademark. This would prevent any unauthorized use of your trademark by any third party. You may however choose to licence the trademark.
Nonetheless, you may seek professional advice if you believe that someone is infringing your trademark. An intellectual property expert would be the right person to give you information on the existing options you have in Brunei and, presumably, also in neighbouring countries to initiate action against counterfeiting and infringement and will provide you with advice on how to enforce your rights.
Get expert help to file your trademark in Brunei
The 10 questions we’ve addressed have given you a lot to think about. And it’s important for you to take the time to weigh the pros and cons before you get too deep into the process and lose valuable money and time. Seek the services of a reputable IP firm like Pintas to assist you through your trademark registration in Brunei.