Business owners, especially in Nigeria, oftentimes believe that the only legal registration required of them is the conventional registration of a business name or company. This is, however, not the case. To attain maximum legal security, business logos, design, representative pictures or symbols also require registration. These are your business trademarks.
A trademark can be a name, word, phrase, symbol, logo, design, or picture. It can only be used on things made by the business that owns the trademark. The most popular used trademarks are business logos which stand alone or are accompanied by a few words or description.
It is advisable to protect your brand identity and the easiest way to do so is to register your trademark in order for your business to assume legal ownership over the same. The following are a few reasons why registration is advised.
Trademarks are potentially valuable assets.
They have the tendency of appreciating in value as time goes by. The more your business and customer base grows, the more valuable your brand name will be. This often leads to expansion across different industries. Some of the trademarks that have appreciated in value across the world include Facebook, Apple and Coca-Cola. These brands have valuable trademarks that have turned out to be outstanding, with an undisputable massive business value and reputation.
Trademark is an asset you can license.
When running a business, the main general goal all business owners share is massive growth and expansion. Where a business expands, value is placed on its trademark and this can translate to actual monetary value by way of licensing out trademarks to 3rd parties. This is referred to as franchising. A franchise is a method of distributing products or services involving a trademark owner, who establishes the brand’s trademark or trade name and a business system, and a third party who pays a royalty and often an initial fee for the right to do business under the trademark. Business owners earn money and wider recognition from this system.
Trademarks ensure your continuous business presence
Have you heard of a situation where a business goes into name or brand dispute over class of identity or symbol? That’s right! Trademarking your business ensures the existence of your brand and also protect your brand identity against cyber squatters. If a cyber squatter is infringing on your trademark by registering it as a domain name, evidence of registration of your trademark can swiftly assist you in claiming the domain.
What’s the Process?
Having listed all of these importance, I am guessing your next question is: “how do I go about trademarking my business?” Exactly right! I compiled the key steps required to kickstart.
- Trademark availability/ conflict search by a Legal Practitioner.
- Formal application at the Federal Ministry of Industry.
- Acknowledgment / examination of application.
- Advertisement on trademark journal.
- Payment of sealing fees.
- Collection of trademark certificate.
It is important to note that when choosing a trademark, it is easier to protect when it is unique and distinct. The information shared is intended as a general guide and not to be substituted for professional legal advice. Please contact a Legal Practitioner if you decide to register your trademark.