Trademarks go beyond being mere marks; they are valuable assets. A trademark serves as an identity for services, products, ideas, individuals, entities, or associations—both artificial and natural. As defined by the Trademarks Act, No. 51 of 1955, a mark includes various forms like slogans, devices, brands, labels, names, words, letters, or numerals, whether in two-dimensional or three-dimensional form.
Why should you register your trademark?
Trademarks hold significant uses:
Marketing: Trademarks, such as slogans, establish a strong connection with markets and instill a desire to identify with the brand. For instance, iPhone’s success as a trademark has eliminated the need for extensive marketing.
Signifying Quality and Building Confidence: The appearance of a trademark on a product communicates that the product maintains the same consistency as all previous products bearing the mark. This builds confidence in the brand and signifies a commitment to quality.
Brand equity: Owners of successful trademarks can introduce different products under the established trademark, leveraging the existing brand recognition.
Maximizing Value: Trademarks are assets that can be sold or leased, generating additional revenue for their owners.
Product Differentiation and Signifying Class: Trademarks signify the high standards associated with a brand, influencing consumer choices to align with a particular brand.
Who can register a trademark? Anyone can register a trademark, provided that it was not already registered or reserved, and there are no valid claims against its registration.
When should you register your trademark? A trademark should be registered when there is a need to protect it. Registration becomes crucial to prevent others from beating you to it, as losing the ability to legally use it can be financially burdensome.
Where should you register your trademark? In Kenya, specifically, trademarks are registered at the Registrar of Trademarks, who serves as the Director of the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI).
The value of a trademark extends beyond its visible representation. It is an asset worthy of protection, following the principle that if it’s worth promoting, it’s worth protecting. For example, Equity Bank’s brand value is substantial, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding such assets. In conclusion, a trademark holds value beyond what meets the eye and deserves careful protection.