Trademark Registration And Protection

 

Originality and recognition in the market are key elements of every successful business. A visionary, long-term business strategy involves building the identity of the goods and services upon which the business activity is based. This is especially crucial for businesses operating online, where a unique verbal or graphical mark that distinguishes our product or service becomes vital. In the online world, such marks often differentiate us from a myriad of other offerings that are characterized by generic or descriptive signs.

In the context of the internet, distinguishing the term “trademark” from the internet domain name is challenging. This relationship is one of the nuances of branding and protecting trademarks online.

TRADEMARK TERM, TYPES, AND VALIDITY

A trademark is a right that protects a sign used in commerce to distinguish the goods and services of one entity from those of another. It can include words, letters (including personal names), numbers, images, colors, 3D shapes, product shapes, packaging, combinations of these elements, or sounds. Trademarks can be collective, guarantee, or individual, the latter being most common in practice. A specific sign is legally protected for designated categories of goods and services, making it necessary to specify these when registering a sign.

In the Republic of Serbia, trademarks are acquired through registration with the Intellectual Property Office, which enters them into the national trademark register. This protection is limited to Serbia; for international protection, trademarks must be registered in each respective country.

Trademarks are valid for 10 years from the application date and can be renewed indefinitely, with each renewal requiring a fee. If not renewed, the trademark expires after the 10-year period.

THE TRADEMARK REGISTRATION PROCEDURE

The trademark registration process begins by filing an application, which must include:

  1. A request for trademark registration for one or more classes of goods and/or services;
  2. The sign to be trademarked;
  3. A list of the goods and/or services associated with the sign, without limitation on the number of classes, although the fee depends on the number of classes;
  4. Applicant details.

The fee depends on the type of trademark and the number of goods/services classes. After the application is deemed valid and the fee is paid, the Intellectual Property Office will verify if all conditions for registration are met. If no objections are raised, or if they are resolved, the applicant must pay for the first 10-year term and publication costs, then provide proof of payment. Upon completion, the trademark is registered, and a certificate is issued to the proprietor.

THE RIGHTS OF THE TRADEMARK HOLDER (PROPRIETOR)

According to Trademark Law, the proprietor has the exclusive right to use the registered sign for the specified goods or services. This right does not preclude others from using a similar sign for different types of goods or services, provided there is no likelihood of confusion among the public.

The proprietor can prohibit others from using the trademark on goods, packaging, or labeling; from selling, marketing, or storing such goods; from importing or exporting goods under the trademark; and from using the trademark in business communications or advertising in a misleading manner.

Furthermore, if there is a risk that trademarked packaging or labels could be misused, the proprietor can also prohibit:

  1. Affixing a similar sign to packaging, labels, tags, security features, or any other items associated with the trademark;
  2. Selling, stocking, importing, or exporting such packaging or labels.

If someone uses a similar trademark without permission in a way that confuses its origin or implies unauthorized affiliation, the proprietor can take legal action to stop this use.

LEGAL SERVICES REGARDING THE TRADEMARK

MILIĆ LEGAL office & hub, provides comprehensive trademark registration and protection services, including:

  • Filing applications for both domestic and international trademarks;
  • Conducting preliminary trademark searches;
  • Legal protection realization through out-of-court settlements and court proceedings;
  • Offering legal advice;
  • Addressing trademark infringements related to the registration or use of internet domain names.

CONCLUSION:

Trademark registration is critical as it grants the proprietor rights to protect their business interests. This includes the right to stop unauthorized use of identical or similar signs for related goods and services, to ensure no confusion or misassociation occurs in commercial transactions or with the public. It also extends to prohibiting the use of the trademark on goods and their packaging, as well as in business communication, documents, or advertising.