If you think back to your childhood, we can often remember a surprising amount about our most vivid memories. It might be a trip to the seaside, or your first day of school.This astonishing power of the mind to form connections with senses and memory is the Holy Grail for businesses and marketeers. It is this recognition and relationship which they want their brands to form in your head when you see their image or hear their catchphrase.
Now think about some favourite brands… It may be that famous ‘swoosh’, the golden M or the prancing black horse. Iconic brands like these have such effective brand recognition that you know instantly what it is being ‘advertised’ and your opinions and perceptions of that brand are reinforced. All companies start from humble beginnings. Who knew in 1940 that Macdonald’s would be serving burgers all over the world? Or in 1964 that Nike would be sell 900 million items of clothing a year by 2016!? Or in 1939 that Enzo Ferrari, a former blacksmith, would build cars coveted by boy (and girl) racers across the world?
Can you trademark a smell? Why would you want to!?
You might just be starting out, or you might have an established company which is just about to launch a new product. You might run a traditional company which has enjoyed moderate success, but you are trying to increase by rebranding. Whatever the stage in the lifecycle of your business, it is paramount that you are aware of and invoke trademark protection over your brand, your logos and any slogans or images which you think represent your company.
“Word, figurative, three-dimensional, or other signs or combinations thereof, in any colour or combination of colours, may be registered as trademarks.” If that just sounds like legal jargon to you, we can advise you as to whether you have a trademark or not. Even sounds and smells can be registered trademarks! Importantly though, trademarks are only valid in the exact representation registered.
You must consider how your brand will be represented, are logos to be combined with text? Do you also need to trademark them separately? We have experience of best practice here to advise you.
Trademarks are our trade
We at Zhuralev&Partners can assist you every step of the way, from exploring your branding ideas and preliminary searches of your potential trademark to renewing your trademark registration or even applying for registration as a ‘well-known’ mark for more prestigious brands.
Where will your brand be seen? Russia and beyond..
One thing is certain: trademark law protection can involve many steps along the way. Registration of your trademark should be the first major step. Using our years of experience, we can conduct your preliminary searches. This will ensure that your great idea or image has not already been a great idea or image, for somebody else. Conducting these searches on an international level is also highly advantageous if you wish to trade abroad. By instigating such searches now, you avoid potential pitfalls for your brand later down the line.
We conduct international filings outside of the Russian Federation, including the CIS and further afield. Russia is a signatory to the Madrid agreement, and so it is possible to register a trademark in several countries at once.
Time is money
Trademarks must be registered within specific business classifications and no trademark will be granted certification which is deemed to infringe on existing trademarks within the same classification(s). You can register across multiple classifications if relevant, but which will incur additional cost and time. It takes between 12-15 months to register a trademark successfully. Most of this time is spent by the patent and trademark office carrying out substantive examination of your registration filings to ensure that the trademark you seek is not likely to infringe others. To avoid failure during this process, as well as the loss of time and money, we urge you to engage a certified and qualified trademark attorneys such as Prof-patent.
Once granted though, the trademark is valid for ten years and can be renewed repeatedly as long as the trademark ability remains.
We conduct trademark renewal services on your behalf to ensure no loss of protection.
Where do you want the rights to reside?
Registration involves filling of information, including the trademark holders name and address. Do you want your company to hold the trademark and so the intellectual property? This becomes a company asset, but, it means it is less secure to you personally should the fate of the company change. Conversely, when registering, you must disclose personal details, your address for example. Maybe you wish to avoid this. With our expertise, we can advise on best practices for your situation.
Uncertainty gives opportunity for loss
As you may be aware in regard to other Intellectual Property, trademarks can be subject to franchise, license and assignment agreements. We can draft and execute the written contracts (with your approval) required for these to be legally enforceable and ensure that they are correctly registered with Rospatent. Incorrect filings can leave your rights exposed and unprotected, allowing infringement without compensation. We can also act on your behalf in court to protect the rights of your trademarks from fraudulent use of those engaging in unfair competition practices.
Whether your brand is next Nike, McDonald's, Ferrari, or one of a more moderate success, a good reputation is hard to build but easy to steal. Protection of your brand will breed that feel good familiarity and ensure your customers come back again and again.