After checking its availability, you can register a trademark with the office dealing with Intellectual Property Protection in your country (INPI in France, USPTO in the USA…).
Registering a trademark is available to an individual, a corporation or even a group of individuals.
It may be a brand dedicated to specific products or services, or simply the name of your company if distinctive and not yet used by another company.
Your brand may consist of:
- “word(s)”, which can be written or pronounced (name, words, letters, numbers, acronym, slogan, etc.).
- a figurative representation (drawings, logos, holograms, shapes, precise shades or combinations of colours, etc.).
- a sound (sounds, musical phrases that can be translated through hardware).
These emblems (or combination of emblems) must be distinctive and available to allow their registration as trademarks.
Your trademark must not cause any confusion with other pre-existing names or brands. You must be sure to register a trademark that does not yet exist, for the goods and services it covers. Nor shall the mark be misleading or contrary to public policy or morality.
At the time of filing, a trademark is associated with one or more types of goods or services that are categorized under “classes” (45 in total) and may be filed in one or more countries. The wider the scope of protection coverage, the more expensive the deposit will be.
You can generally carry out the registration process directly online on the appropriate office website. The cost can vary depending on your country. For example in France, a simple deposit will cost you 210 € (deposit in France on 3 classes). If you select more than 3 classes, you will have to add 42 € per additional class. In the US, the first price is around $225.
The protection is valid for 10 years on the national territory and is renewable indefinitely (in France, you have a 250 € fee for 3 classes of goods and services for each renewal, and 42 € for each additional class). Be aware that this renewal is not automatic! You must think about it, the risk being to lose your brand if you forget to renew your trademark! And it is easy to forget when 10 years have passed…
Registering a trademark makes it possible to acquire an exclusive right to prohibit any individual or business from using it in protected classes.
Trademark registration is an essential element of valuation because it is the one that carries and protects the brand image associated with a product, a service or a business. Without a registered trademark, it is more complicated to enforce the right to use a name or logo exclusively, one of the only remedies being to opt for a lawsuit for unfair competition, for example.
Having a trademark also allows you to oppose any related trademark that may be registered later and that you consider to be an infringement of your rights.
An unprotected name is likely to be less valued than a registered trademark. However, an unregistered name is not necessarily worthless.
Using an Industrial Property Attorney or Lawyer to register a trademark is more expensive, but it often provides optimal protection and better value because the protection is adjusted to your activity and according to the risks of counterfeiting by a third party. This makes your business all the more credible to investors or potential partners (sale, license, royalty).
Registering a trademark therefore brings real financial and legal added value to their owners.
To facilitate your procedures, we suggest that you contact professionals who are able to file and manage your trademarks.