WHY TRADEMARK REGISTRATION IS IMPORTANT FOR STARTUPS

Few days after publishing our article on how to register a trademark in Nigeria (click HERE to read previous article), a reader asked “Is a trademark registration important, considering the fact that I have just registered my company with the Corporate Affairs Commission”?

This article would address this question. But before we do that, it is important to define a trademark.

WHAT IS A TRADEMARK?

A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services. It’s how customers recognize you in the marketplace and distinguish you from your competitors.

Having a trademark means you have rights to words, phrase, symbol or design used with respect to a specific class of goods or services. For instance, if you registered a name or logo as trademark for your agro-business, this doesn’t mean you can stop others from using a similar name or logo for non-agro – business related goods or services.

TIP; In choosing trademarks, creative and unique trademarks are more effective and easier to protect.

Examples of existing trademarks include; Coca – Cola, Remita, ‘Just do it’, Twitter, etc

REASONS WHY TRADEMARK REGISTRATION IS IMPORTANT.

Whether you are a newly formed company, or your company is already registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission or your company is yet to commence business, it is important to note that registering a company with the Corporate Affairs Commission does not protect your brand as an intellectual property. The Corporate Affairs Commission is responsible for registering business entities as recognized businesses in Nigeria. Registration of intellectual property such as trademark is carried out by the Commercial Law Department of Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Below are reasons why you should consider trademark registration.

1. A TRADEMARK IS A COMPANY’S GREATEST ASSET.

A diverse portfolio with trademarks and other registered intellectual property owned by a company is considered as an intangible asset. According to experts, a huge percentage of a company’s value comes from these intangible assets.

Such intangible assets are highly beneficial for; diversification of product and services, franchising through licensing or in cases of an outright sale.

2. REBRANDING IS COSTLY.

Ever had a situation where your company name, logo or symbol is being replicated by another entity? In a situation where no effort was made to register such name, logo or symbol was unregistered on your end, the only available option would be to rebrand, and that could be difficult and costly.

Where you’ve taken extra effort at securing your name, logo or symbol through trademark registration before a competitor does so, you stand a chance at getting the other party to rebrand instead.

3. A REGISTERED TRADEMARK AVERTS FUTURE LEGAL DISPUTE

Where your trademark is replicated by another individual or entity, a proof of registration of the trademark in issue would in most cases compel an offender to desist from future use of the trademark or prevent the latter from resorting to the time consuming and expensive procedure of litigation in other to resolve such trademark dispute.

4. TRADEMARKS LAST FOREVER.

No doubt, an initial trademark registration is valid for a period of seven years and may be renewed for a period of fourteen years and there is no limit to the number of times a trademark license can be renewed.

Brands such as Coca – Cola was first registered as a trademark in 1893, Volvo in 1915, e.t.c and they have retained their license till date through renewals.

5. YOU CAN PROTECT YOUR ONLINE IDENTITY ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND AGAINST CYBER SQUATTERS THROUGH TRADEMARKS.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, e.t c have intellectual property policies that enable them rectify issues related to brand/identity theft on their platforms. With evidence of trademark registration, such issues could be resolved swiftly. Same applies to cases of cybersquatting with respect to domain names on the internet.

6. PUTS THE PUBLIC ON NOTICE OF YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS.

With the ‘TM’ and ‘R’ marks attached to your brand, it places likely competitors on notice of your rights and is a good way of reducing cases of infringement on your rights.

The ‘TM’ sign is used when a brand is undergoing trademark registration. The ‘R’ sign may be used when a trademark registration process is completed.

CONCLUSION

With the above points, we hope we’ve been able to convince you that obtaining a trademark registration for your brand is one of the best action you could take for your business? Need further clarification or help with trademark registration? You may reach out to us HERE or at info@lexpraxisng.com and we’ll be happy to hear from you.

Cynthia Tishion
Cynthia is a lawyer and currently serves as Head of Corporate / Commercial Services at LEX – PRAXIS. With her passion for business and entrepreneurship, she is actively engaged in creating awareness on the legal aspect of businesses through various platforms such as writing, public speaking engagements.

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