What is a trade mark?
It is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof which identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or services of one party from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trade mark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Normally, a mark for goods appears on the product or on its packaging, while a service mark appears in advertising for the services.
What is the difference between TM, ® and SM?
Anyone who claims rights in a mark may use the TM (trade mark) or SM (service mark) designation with the mark to alert the public to the claim. It is not necessary to have a registration, or even a pending application, to use these designations. The registration symbol ®, may only be used when the mark is registered in the Trade Marks Office. It is improper to use this symbol at any point before registration.
How do I establish trade mark rights?
Trade mark rights arise from either
- actual use of the mark, (common law rights) and/or
- the filing of the application to register a mark in the Trade Marks Office
The application is assigned a serial number and filing date if it meets certain minimum requirements. Due to the current situation at the Trade Marks Office, an applicant can only expect examination of the application approximately two to three years after filing.
Trade mark protection is territorial in nature, i.e. it is limited to the country in which the trade mark is used or registered.
Services we provide
- Trade Mark searches and opinions
- Filing trade mark applications locally and internationally
- Associated litigation
The information is, by its nature, brief and is not meant as a substitute for detailed legal advice. Further information can be provided upon request.