The best way to protect your brand in Singapore is through trademark registration, which is the process of officially recognizing your company’s sign, expression or design that will clearly identify the products and services that you’re marketing. In a nutshell, a trademark is simply a brand name or logo that includes the name, symbol, device, numeral, heading, shape, color, signature or a combination of these to identify your company easily. A registered trademark therefore is a form of property that can be assigned and licensed.
How do you register trademark in Singapore and what are the requirements?
Criteria for Trademark Registration
Before you can register trademark in Singapore, you need to meet the following criteria first:
• Registered mark must be distinct
• Registered mark must be represented graphically
• Registered mark must distinguish the goods and services from other registered trademarks
• Registered mark must not be similar to or confused with another registered trademark
• Registered mark must be descriptive of the services and goods; the established practices of related trade; and customary in the current language
How a Registered Trademark is Identified
Your company’s trademark registered with http://www.brandmark.sg/ in Singapore has distinguishing marks that will identify it as a registered trademark or not, such as;
• ™, which refers to the mark as a trademark, but it’s not necessarily registered or protected under the trademark laws of Singapore.
• ®, which refers to the mark as a protected and registered mark. Once you register TM, this will be placed in your company’s logo or brand name.
When a business or company registers the trademark, it is considered an intellectual property and is treated as a physical property or an asset. Registered trademarks are one of the four principal areas of intellectual property rights, alongside design rights, patents, and copyright.
Benefits of a Registered Trademark
Trademark registration is valid for ten years beginning on the date of the application and can be renewed for another ten years. There are benefits and rights that the business owner can enjoy with a registered mark, such as;
• Licensing the trademark for commercial use by other parties to open other sources of revenue
• Ensure quality of products and services
• Brand is recognized by consumers
• Increase the market value of your products and services
• Exclusive use of a registered trademark
• Prevent other companies or individuals from copying a register TM
• Benefit from the 400% tax rebates under the Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme
It is not mandatory for a company to register trademark under the laws of Singapore, but the move will add value to the business. A registered trademark, however, may still be revoked if it is not used within a five-year uninterrupted period and if there is no valid reason for not using the registered mark. This provision will ensure that there will be no trademark trolls that discourage other companies or businesses from using and registering trademarks.
Trademark Registration in Singapore
Trademark registration in Singapore is processed by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). The trademark registration procedure can last between 8 to 12 months depending on the rejections, complaints, and other requirements.
Application for Trademark Registration
• Provide the name and address of the registered trademark applicant
• Provide a graphical presentation of the trademark to be registered
• Provide a list of the products and/or services related to the trademark to be registered
• Provide a declaration of the intent to use the trademark
• Pay the application fee for products and/or services
• If the requirements are incomplete, the applicant is given a deadline to fulfill all the necessary information
Examination for Trademark Registration
• The trademark is examined to determine if it can be registered.
• If there are changes in the application, the applicant is required to provide the following: Amendment Form, amendment fee, and other service bureau charges (for manual application).
• If the trademark does not pass the examination, the applicant is required to provide all the needed information within a four-month period.
Publication in the Trademarks Journal
• If the trademark registration has passed the examination staged, it is published in the Trademarks Journal so that the public can inspect it within a two-month period.
• If there is no objection to the trademark registration, the applicant will be issued a registration certificate.
• If there are objections to the trademark registration, the application is suspended until the outcome of a proceeding is released.
Once the application is granted and there are no oppositions after it has been published in the Trademarks Journal, the applicant is granted the Registration Certificate by the IPOS, which is renewable every ten years.
Trademark Registration Outside Singapore
There is a separate procedure for application of a registered trademark outside Singapore. The applicant can either file an application directly at the IP office or through a single international application using the Madrid Protocol.
Application for a Trademark Registration outside Singapore
• Provide the information needed in the Form MM2(E).
• Pay the administrative fee imposed by IPOS.
• Pay the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) fees for the number of classes of products and/or services; contracting parties designated; and the colored or black and white trademark.
Examination of Trademark Registration Outside Singapore
• The application is reviewed by IPOS.
• If all the requirements pass the examination, the IPOS will submit the application to WIPO.
• If the requirements do not pass the examination, the IPOS will set a deadline for its completion.
Publication of Trademark Registration Outside Singapore
• The trademark is certified by IPOS and then sent to the International Bureau for another examination.
• If the application meets all the requirements, the trademark is recorded in the International Register then published in WIPO Gazette. An IR number is also provided.
• If the application is rejected, the applicant if given a deadline to meet all the requirements.
• Once the IB sends the application to the IP offices of designated countries, another examination is required.
• Once approved, the trademark is given all the necessary protection.
• If it does not meet the standards, a deadline will be given to provide response or changes.