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What is a trademark?
Trademarks may consist of any characters, in particular words, including names of persons, or drawings, letters, numbers, colors, shapes of goods or packaging of goods, or sounds, provided that they are not inscribed in the name of the person or the person concerned:
- the goods or services of a company should be distinguishable from those of other companies, and
- may be reproduced in the register in a manner that enables the competent authorities and the public to identify clearly and precisely the subject of the protection granted to its holder.
What is the difference between business name and trademark?
A business name is a trademark that is protected by use or registration in the local trade register.
The protection is limited and has a local orientation. A trademark gives you the exclusive right and therefore a monopoly on a trademark in the entire country or jurisdiction where it is registered.
This means that a trademark provides a broader and stronger protection compared to a business name.
Should I trademark my business name?
Registering your business name is essential to prevent trademark infringement on a trademark with prior rights and to ensure that you can take action against other parties that may create confusion with your company name.
Without registration, it will not be possible to take action against this.
How many trademarks can a company have?
There is no limit to the number of trademarks a company can have.
Can two companies have the same name?
Two companies can have the same name if they provide different products or services. For example, the brand Ajax is a football club, an all-purpose cleaner and a brand for fire extinguishers.
There cannot be any risk of confusion in this respect. There is no risk of confusion with Lotus biscuits and Lotus as a car brand.
Courts have shown that chicken meat and chicken transport can be confusing, but wine and wine glasses are not.
In addition, brands that complement each other cannot always coexist for two separate companies. Think of a registered trademark for drinks and a hotel and catering business with the same name. The public might think that it belongs together and therefore such names for companies are not allowed to have the same name.
How long does a trademark last?
A trademark is registered for 10 years. After ten years, you can renew the trademark at any time, for a period of 10 years. By doing so, the trademark can be protected forever.
In some countries there are additional requirements, such as in the United States. The USPTO requires that a registrant proves that the brand is still being used with an affidavit, between the fifth and sixth year of registration, as it has been registered.