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Effective protection of a brand name is essential since it enables the owner or enterprise to build up a reputation for the goods or services offered in relation that mark and provides incentive to the owner to strive to maintain the quality of goods or services offered under the mark. Brand names are known as ‘Trade Marks’ and the names of enterprises are known as ‘Trade Names’.
In order to prevent one’s logo, brand name/mark etc. from being misused by another, it is essential to be aware of the existence of such misuse in different areas and jurisdictions. An owner should not sleep over his rights by letting another misuse his mark without his knowledge as the same would amount to acquiescence of such misuse and losing rights with respect to his mark. One of the ways to monitor the use of one’s mark is by conducting a regular search in the relevant trademark database(s) to ascertain whether any other person proposing to use a mark similar to or identical with one’s own mark has filed an application for registration with regard to the same and raising opposition and objection to such application and proposed use.
In case one becomes aware of misuse or infringement by another person, legal proceedings may be initiated in the form of a suit for infringement or passing off. The remedies available in such proceedings would be grant of an injunction (stoppage of such misuse) and/or award of damages and/or delivery-up of the infringing labels and marks for destruction or erasure.
A domain name is a website address on the Internet which gives you an online identity. Owners should obtain a domain name with the name of their respective brand so that unscrupulous users may not have a website with the same name as their brand. This assumes importance as when a person conducts an online search with the name of a particular brand, logo etc., then someone else’s webpage should not show up as it might lead to confusion.
If a person proposes to carry on business/trade in foreign jurisdictions or countries, then an application for protection of his mark in the proposed/designated countries may be made under the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (Madrid System). The Madrid System is the primary international system for facilitating the registration of trademarks in multiple jurisdictions around the world. If registration is granted under the Madrid System, it is easier to monitor the use of one’s mark in the International Register, which is a single centralized system maintained by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
The most important way to safeguard your trademark, however, is to apply for and obtain registration in respect of it. Registration of a trademark confers an array of rights and privileges to the ‘owner’ in comparison with unregistered marks. Some of them being:
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