If you’re in business, one of the things you must do to protect everything you’ve worked hard for is to apply and accomplish the appropriate trademark registration in the Philippines, which is handled by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
If you have absolutely no knowledge of this concept, here’s a guide that contains everything you need to know about registering your trademark in the country and other relevant information you must know before applying.
Trademark Registration in the Philippines
What Is a Trademark?
According to the IPO, a mark is “any visible sign capable of distinguishing the goods (trademark) or services (service mark) of an enterprise and shall include a stamped or marked container of goods.”
What Types of Marks Cannot Be Registered?
Under Rule 101 of the Rules & Regulations on Trademarks, Service Marks, Tradenames, and Marked or Stamped Containers, the IPO identifies certain categories where marks can’t be registered. It’s important to double check if your mark falls under these categories before attempting to file for registration.
How Are Rights to the Mark Acquired?
One can acquire rights to a mark by registering it with IPO’s Bureau of Trademarks. Only marks duly registered with the IPO can provide you with protection against infringement.
If you’re planning to file an application for a mark, you must do it as soon as possible because the IPO follows a first-to-file rule. This means that no one else can file an application for the same mark covering the same goods after your date of filing.
Benefits of Registering Your Trademark
Having a registered trademark enables you with the following important benefits.
1. Builds Identity and Branding
Essentially, a trademark sets your business apart from the others, as it helps differentiate your products and services offered by your competitors.
Just seeing your logo, for instance, would help people recognize which particular business it is they’re seeing. This is particularly useful while you’re still starting in the industry and in the process of building your brand.
Aside from using your trademark to mark your store, you can use it for your marketing campaigns and promotional materials to build awareness regarding your business.
2. Adds Value
A trademark develops an intrinsic value over time as the business grows and becomes successful. In fact, it can even become the most valuable asset of any business.
Registering a trademark gives you the exclusive right to use it while preventing others to use the same or similar mark. However, know that you can earn revenues for licensing others to use your mark through franchising agreements.
Having a licensed trademark is also something that investors look at for security reasons before arriving at a conclusion to invest in your business.
3. Serves as Protection
Without proper trademark registration, you run the risk of unauthorized parties using it without your permission. This can not only damage your brand and reputation but your entire business as well.
Registering your trademark gives your business an extra layer of protection from those who’ll try to benefit from all the hard work you’ve put into building your brand and reputation.
4. Gives Legal Rights
Should anyone try to imitate you by using your trademark, product names, designs, logos, or packaging without authority, you can avail of civil or criminal actions or even administrative actions from the Bureau of Legal Affairs of the IPO—only if you’re the registered owner of the trademark.
Not having your trademark registered puts you in a frail position to fight for rights that should have been yours.
Trademark Registration Requirements
For the initial filing of an application for registration of a trademark in the Philippines, all applications must be addressed to the Director and shall be in Filipino or English.
The requirements must include a request for registration, information regarding the applicant as well as the trademark to be registered. A complete list of requirements can be found under Part 4, Rule 400 of the Rules & Regulations on Trademarks, Service Marks, Tradenames, and Marked or Stamped Containers.
Steps on Registering Your Trademark in the IPO
The registration process can take an average of 18 to 24 months. There are five (5) steps or phases involved in the filing and prosecution procedures for registering a logo or trademark in the Philippines, and they are as follows:
All initial filings of an application for registration of a trademark in the Philippines must be addressed to the Director and shall be in Filipino or English.
The requirements include a request for registration, information regarding the applicant and the trademark to be registered. Part 4, Rule 400 of the Rules & Regulations on Trademarks, Service Marks, Trade Names and Marked or Stamped Containers contains a complete list of the requirements.
Applications are handled by the Bureau of Trademarks of the IPO. An applicant number will be issued after a thorough examination of the application requirements has been performed by a duty officer and once the filing fee has been settled.
2. Search and Examination
The process of searching is performed to determine whether there are existing similar or identical trademarks to the one being applied for. Afterward, the application will be examined to see if it complies with all rules and regulations, and may be rejected if not.
Some of the common objections involve prior conflicting rights with another proprietor, conflicts with a well-known trademark, distinctiveness, descriptiveness, and too broad description of goods and services, among others.
3. Publication in eGazette
The trademark is published in the IP Philippines eGazette once the trademark is approved. This is done to let the public know about the registration and give concerned parties a chance to oppose if deemed necessary.
4. Opposition (if any)
The public is given up to 30 days from the issuance of the eGazette to oppose the trademark.
After the Director of the Bureau of Legal Affairs verifies that there’s no notice of opposition, the office will issue the Certificate of Registration.
The Certificate of Registration will again be published in the IP Philippines eGazette for the second time, and then be entered in the official records. This will be valid for ten (10) years, after which a request for renewal can be filed. It can be renewed for ten (10) years at a time.
Trademark registration is an essential step to take in protecting your business, as it’s only through this registration can you lay claim to what is rightfully yours. If you haven’t registered your trademark yet, do so now before it’s too late.