A trademark (also trade mark or trade-mark) – is a recognizable sign protected by an exclusive right due to which products or services of the persons are distinguished from similar products and/or services of other persons.
A trademark may consist of words, figures, symbols, figurative elements (images), colours or their various combinations, etc. Recently, new types of trademarks such as luminous, musical, olfactory ones are becoming more popular.
It is interesting to note that probably one of the oldest verbal elements in the history which was used to mark products or services and which is a part many modern registered trademarks is a Latin initialism S.P.Q.R. ("The Roman Senate and People") of the Ancient Rome dated year 85 B.C.
Trademark registration is necessary to obtain the state-guaranteed privileges to use a trademark including the enforcement of the right to prohibit the use of such designation by third parties.
Both individuals and legal entities may be the holders of the property rights for a trademark and a trademark may simultaneously belong to several legal entities and/or individuals.
A list of products and/or services under protection is indicated in a title of protection which is a certificate of trademark state registration. There are 45 classes of products and services provided by the International Classification of Goods and Services (ICGS).
The territory covered by the protection of the registered designation is always indicated in the title of protection. It may include one or several countries.
The validity of registration of TM in most countries is 10 years. The relevant Certificate can be renewed for an unlimited number of years if relevant state fees are paid periodically.
Warning symbols R or ® are used to identify the registered designations, whereas the symbol ™ is used to identify the designation which undergoes the registration stage.
It is important to remember the following: it is better to invest in protection of designation before the start of sale of goods and services than to spend significantly more in future to protect your products from unscrupulous competitors and intellectual property dealers.
In Ukraine, the examination system for TM registration is applied. This means that the expert institution (SE "UKRPATENT") shall examine if a submitted trademark designation meets criteria for registration, including features of novelty and similarity with respect to the designations already registered or submitted for registration. Such procedure allows to prevent quite efficiently from registering confusing designations with respect to a product/service and/or a product manufacturer and/or a service provider.