Brand Registration certificate, how to find it online?
Elaine’s legs and head hurt. Blade, her attorney, sighs as he clasps his hands. Her eyes are a pulpy red; her blond medium-length hair is frizzy; and veins show on her emaciated arms from days of crying and eating little.
She wishes she had listened to Blade’s advice. Maybe then her three years of sweat, blood, and tears would have paid off. She would not have been forced to give up everything she had worked for all of a sudden. Blade, preoccupied with his own thoughts, recalls how he warned her three years ago to register her music brand when she recorded her first demo single, but she did not listen.
He had been going through some files on his computer when she rushed in that late afternoon, beaming. At first, he thought she had finally landed a job. He knew how tough things had been for her, facing rejection after rejection at every company she applied to, just because she had served a six-month jail term when she was 18, for stealing roasted chicken from a neighborhood store.
So when Elaine excitedly waved the demo music tape in front of him, his heart lurched. The poor girl was going to see her dreams come true at last. As soon as she alerted her 100+ Instagram followers of her new song out on Spotify, they rushed down to stream it. Some went as far as promoting the song on their social media accounts until one day, a celebrity heard it and invited Elaine to perform her song as an opening for her concert in the winter.
It was as if all the doors had been waiting for that moment to open. She was writing song after song and doing everything music stars do, but did not register her brand. Three years down the line, an upcoming artist used and trademarked Elaine’s brand name, which had already gained popularity.
Two weeks before this present meeting with Blade, the artist’s attorney served Elaine a cease and desist letter. Having no other choice, Elaine had to change her brand name to something her fans did not recognize. It was basically like she was starting from scratch.
This time, she wants to register her new brand name before it is stolen by any shenanigans in the future. That’s why she’s sitting in Blade’s office, trying to calm down, so she can understand this brand registration thing and get it done as soon as possible. Blade clears his throat. He goes like this:
Brand Registration Process
Let’s get one thing straight. The procedure for registering a brand is essentially the same as that for registering a trademark. This is because a trademark is a registered brand name. That said, here is how to register your brand in just five steps, and you should note that, there are some differences in registering brand online, in each country. You can ask LegaMart lawyers in different countries to help you through your brand registration process.
Step 1: Search for trademarks similar to yours in your country’s intellectual property database
The goal of this step is to avoid inadvertently infringing on an existing trademark. Most countries have their IP databases online. You can place your brand a step ahead of your competitors by conducting your trademark search internationally via the WIPO database too.
Step 2: Submit a trademark application
All countries have made it possible to submit trademark applications online via their respective websites. That doesn’t preclude submissions via postal orders, so if you prefer the latter, you’re still safe.
In any case, you have to put together the requirements for your trademark application, which usually include:
- The sign representing the trademark: it could be a word, logo, special designs or combination of all.
- The application fee: we’ll explain more about this later on.
- Your contact details.
- A description of the goods and / or services which the trademark will represent.
Then you can proceed to file an application electronically, which should be done via the various options available on the official website of your country’s IP office.
- UK: Here, you have the option to check if your application meets the rules for registration before filing it through the “Right start service.” You will pay an upfront fee for using the service, and an additional fee if you go ahead with your application.
When you are not able to “right start” the application, you can make do with a “standard application” alternative, which is cheaper. Both choices are accessible on IPO’s site.
- Canada: Simply apply through the CIPO website and wish yourself luck.
- Australia: At IP Australia’s website address, you can select a standard or a TM headstart application submission process.
The latter is more expensive, but it includes additional benefits such as an examiner’s pre-assessment of your application, feedback within five days of request, and the opportunity to amend your application before filing.
If you decide to obtain a trademark through INPI, the trademark will be protected only within French boundaries. On the other hand, a European Union Trademark grants recognition and protection to your brand in all 28 member countries of the European Union.
If you’d rather not go through the EUIPO, there is nothing stopping you from filing an application with Ufficio Italiano Brevetti e Marchi (UIBM), Italy’s national intellectual property office, instead.
Step 3: Your country’s IP office examines your trademark application
The length of the examination period varies from two months to a year. During this stage, your application is forwarded to a trademark examiner, who will review it to ensure that it complies with all legal requirements.
Step 4: The IP office publishes your application
After the examination, your application will be published in your country’s official trademark gazette or journal to notify the public of the existence of a new trademark application. Anyone who believes your application is unsuitable for registration or harmful to their brand has two to three months to file an opposition.
If this occurs, your country’s intellectual property office will examine the opposition to see if it is valid. The opposition statement will then be sent to you via email. If you want to respond to the opposition, you can file a counter statement with your country’s intellectual property office, and a date will be set for both you and the opposer to defend your claims.
As long as you prevail over the opponent, your trademark application will move to the next stage. But in situations where the opposition stands, the IP office will reject your application.
However, some countries, such as Russia, publish trademark applications in their national journals for the sole purpose of information, not opposition. Sure, a member of the public could send an informal opposition letter to the IP office, but they are not statutorily obligated to consider the opposition.
Step 5: Your application is registered by the IP office
Your country’s IP office registers the application when no opposition to it arises or all oppositions to it have been resolved.
Brand Registration Certificate
A digital trademark registration certificate will be emailed to you as soon as the five steps are completed. Viola! You’re officially welcome to the trademark owners’ club.
Brand Registration Fees
In some countries, there are two sets of fees you will pay in order to have your brand registered. The first is the application or processing fee, meant to be sent along with your application form to the IP office. The second set of fees is paid upon the successful registration of your brand.
Lately, many countries are registering trademarks for free, thus making it easier for business owners to protect their brands. This means that applicants only have to pay the application fee plus any other charges that might pop up during the application process.
Given the variety of brand registration fees, we recommend hiring an IP attorney to assist you with the payment process. With the help of a legal professional, you are less likely to make mistakes when it comes to choosing the classes of goods and services for your trademark.
Also, each trademark application option available in each country, such as the “right start service” and “standard application” in the UK, attracts different fees. For example, a “right start” application costs £ 200 for the first class of goods and £ 50 for each additional class of goods represented by the trademark, while a “standard application” costs 170 for the first class of goods.
Having your trademark registered is not enough. It must be renewed every ten years. Also consider filing an international trademark application with the WIPO to broaden the scope of your trademark protection.
The sooner you register your brand, the better. Most countries follow a first-to-file rule, which favors the first person to file a trademark application. So don’t put it off any longer__ take the necessary steps to protect your brand today.
Several related articles about branding are available here:
Legal Personal Branding: Best 5 Tips on Online Marketing
Best Ways to Take Your Personal Legal Branding to the Next Level