What is real
is not external form.”
The extension of the number of new trademark registrations greatly reduces the chances for trademark owners to register trademarks that are both new and unique. What to do?
The number of registered trademarks has increased significantly in recent years due to exposure to the online environment where brands can very easily reach the end consumer. Although China is currently the region with the largest number of brands, this trend is spreading quietly and surely to the rest of the world.
According to the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), new brand registrations have increased worldwide by 6% to 8% in the last 2 years.
This overall extension of the number of new trademark registrations greatly reduces the chances for trademark owners to register trademarks that are both new and unique, that is, to raise security risks or confusion with other brands.
In this context, trademark owners already registered must, for their part, be very attentive to trademarks that are in the process of being registered, in order to be able to identify in time whether some of them will not seize a trademark part of the market they hold.
Many trademark owners are wondering how they could detect in time the perils threatening their IP capital from other brands …
Usually, before a company launches a new brand, a new product or a new campaign, several naming possibilities are provided that, in general, contain the essence of the brand and are designed so that, if one of them cannot be registered, one can turn on one of the other alternatives.
Once the short list of names is ready, a preliminary search can be launched to eliminate proposed names that are not available or cannot be registered if they are too similar to other brands already registered. This avoids the cost of changing a brand if there is only one option provided by the company and the company has spent a lot of money on it.
To better understand the problem, here is a concrete example:
iSwatch against iWatch
When the American giant Apple filed an application for registration of the brand iWatch in the United States, he met a fierce opposition from the Swiss watch producer Swatch. The latter objected to the registration of the iWatch mark because it was too close to its ISWATCH mark and, since both marks were aimed at the same market, consumers could very easily have confused the two marks.
The UK Intellectual Property Office admitted Swatch’s opposition and forced Apple to change the name of its product to Apple Watch.
A simple basic search before choosing the name of iWatch would have allowed Apple to locate the brand iSwatch and the famous American company would have saved a lot of time and would have saved the costs of the name change.
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