#IPBasics – Trademarks

In the same was as for patents and design rights, the trademark rights is a title deed, with the particularity of protecting a distinctive sign for the designated products and / or services. As a tite deed / right, it enters the company’s assets and significantly affects its valuation.

The case law concerning what can be the subject-matter of a trademark registration is abundant. What raises least objections is to go for a sign subject to graphic representation, such as numbers, letters, a word, a sentence, a drawing / logo, a combination of colors … (Recent EU law increase the possibilities).

A protectable sign must not be deceptive (ie: likely to mislead the consumer as to the nature or origin of the product or service), or descriptive (ie describing features of the product or of the service covered).

The principle behind trademarks is to enable the consumer to associate your competitive advantage with your business. For example, if a consumer sees a sign on a third-party product that makes them think it’s your product (because of the similarity to your brand), the third-party has actually infringed your trademark.

It is therefore important to quickly take advantage of these prerogatives by “marking” your competitive advantage over your products and / or service with a trademark filing covering the countries where you operate. You will be able to use this legal weapon at least in a dissuasive way vis-à-vis your competitors. In addition, a registered trademark always makes a good impression in the mind of the consumer and could in fact significantly increase your sales. This makes the trademark an effective commercial weapon.

The trademark can be renewed without limit of duration.

The value of the trademark is generally determined by the income provided by the goods or services covered by the mark evaluated in relation to the same product without the said mark.

For example, in the top 100 published by Forbes magazine in 2017, the Apple trademark has an estimated value of 170 billion US $. The first French brand (20th of the top 100) is Louis Vuitton with 28 billion US $.

The path is long, so on your marks …


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