To Register or not to Register, that is the question?
To fully understand these unusual trade marks, we need to first understand what a trade mark is. Yeah, we know it’s not the most exciting part, right? But bear with us while we get the law ‘101’ out of the way.
A trade mark is essentially a sign and can include words, images, movement, sound, and scents, and can either be registered or unregistered. Unregistered trade marks are identified by the ™ symbol next to your product’s branding or logo. When it is unregistered, depending on whether it has accumulated enough of a reputation, your trade mark will be subject to the common law for legal protection. A registered trade mark, on the other hand, carries the ®symbol, and once registered, you have full legal ownership over it and can take legal action to prevent others from using it (i.e. prevent them from infringing your IP).
A registered trade mark is valid for 10 years from the date it is registered and can be renewed either 12 months prior to, or 6 months post the expiry date. However, if your trade mark is not actively being used, it can be removed from registration. This means that it would be up for grabs, and another business could potentially register it as their own and take legal ownership.