A business name and/or logo is used in the course of trade to identify your goods/services offered. Once you’ve started to use the business name/logo, you’re developing a common law trademark protection for them. To give more grounded protection to your trademarks, you must register them with the Singapore trademark office, i.e. Intellectual Property Office Singapore (IPOS).
A trade mark is a sign that you can use to distinguish your business’ goods or services from those of other traders. It can be represented graphically in the form of your company’s name or logo.
According to IPOS, a trademark can be in the form of:
“letters, words, names, signatures, labels, devices, tickets, shapes and colour, or any combination of these elements.”
The steps for you to register a trademark in Singapore are as simple as do a Singapore trademark search, file an application, to follow-up, regular monitoring, etc. The outline of the steps you need to take to secure and maintain your trademark is as follows: –
#1 Do a Singapore Trademark Search
The IPOS will not allow your trademark to be registered if the marks are descriptive (e.g. super, best, cheap, one dozen); marks that are not distinctive or are common to your trade (ones that have become well accepted in relation to your trade and do not distinguish the goods or service you are offering); marks that could offend or promote immoral behaviour; deceptive marks (ones that could misrepresent the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods or services); marks that are identical to earlier marks; marks that could cause confusion, as there is a similar or identical mark filed earlier in relation to similar or identical goods and/or services; or Marks that are identical or similar to well-known marks.
To minimize the chance that your application to be rejected, for these reason, you must conduct a comprehensive Singapore trademark search before applying for a trademark in Singapore. A comprehensive search will include searches for Singapore trademarks that are registered with IPOS.
#2 Apply Trademark in Singapore
If your Singapore trademark search doesn’t reveal any conflicts with pending or registered trademarks, the next step is to file a trademark application with the Singapore trademark office, IPOS. Representation of your mark is required to be provided as it appears by itself. You must also identify the types of goods or services that you use your mark for. It’s important to be accurate because the extent of your trademark protection is very dependent on the types of goods or services you listed in your application.
#3 Respond Promptly to Office Actions or Oppositions
Once your trademark application has been submitted, it will be then assigned to an IPOS Examiner who will peruse and review it. If the IPOS Examiner has any questions or concerns regarding your trademark application, he/she will send you an official letter called an “Office action”. Office actions are not unusual, and it’s important to take them seriously and respond by the stipulated deadline. If you miss the deadline, your application might be considered abandoned. To respond to an Office action, you must address the problems/concerns to the satisfaction of the IPOS Examiner. Once all issues/concerns have been resolved, your trademark will proceed to be published in the Official Gazette/Trade Mark Journal and anyone who objects to the trademark registration may file an opposition.
#4 Monitor Your Trademark
Once your trademark has successfully been registered, you can start using the registered trademark symbol, ® on your trademark. But your efforts to protect your trademark shouldn’t end there. The IPOS registers trademarks, but it does not enforce them—that’s up to you.
One way to protect your trademark is to monitor IPOS filings and oppose any applications to register trademarks that are similar or identical to yours. You may also be assertive if you have the knowledge or are aware of another individual/company is using a name or logo that’s similar to your registered trademark in the course of trade by issuing a simple cease and desist letter to stop the infringer. But, if that does not work, you may consider filing a lawsuit for trademark infringement with the court in Singapore.
#5 Maintain Your Trademark
Trademark registrations will last for 10 years and are renewable perpetually for every 10 years.
Once your trademark is registered, be sure to monitor it to ensure that your hard-earned trademark protection lasts as long as your business.
#6 Continued Use of the Trademark
Additionally, you must also continue to use your trademark or it may be revoked after 5 years of not being used in good faith in Singapore.
#7 Register Your Trademark Overseas
Registering your trademark in Singapore will also allow you to register it in other jurisdictions overseas via the Madrid Protocol which is a system for registering trademarks in multiple countries with a single application.
Madrid Protocol process would be useful if you intend to expand your business overseas, as it is a much simpler and more cost-effective process than registering your trademark in multiple jurisdictions individually.
A thoughtful trademark strategy adds value and prevents misuse of your brand/trademark by others. Keeping the above steps in mind while formulating your trademark strategy will help you to build a dynamic brand that aligns with your current and future business goals.
Ready to protect your trademark? Pintas Singapore is here to help. Pintas Singapore offers a wide range of IP services including filing your trademark, responding to office actions, monitoring, and maintaining your trademark portfolio.
You can get in touch with us at https://pintas-ip.com/singapore/