What is trademark
What is trademark?
A trademark is generally a word, phrase, symbol, device, or even
color, shape or packaging of goods, motion, hologram, sound, or a
combination thereof, mainly used by a person in the course of
business or trade to identify and distinguish the source of goods
or services of one undertaking from those of another.
Trademarks, copyrights, and patents
Trademarks, copyrights, and patents protect different types of
intellectual property. A trademark generally protects brand names
and logos used for goods and services. A copyright protects an
original artistic or literary work. A patent protects an invention, a
utility model or a design. To be patentable, a creation must be
novel, industrially applicable and involve an inventive step. For
example, if you have created a new technology that can be used
on a device, you will apply for a patent to protect this technology.
In the same token, you will also want to apply for registration of a
trademark as the brand of a product for the purpose of promotion
and consumers’ recognition. Also, you may claim your copyright
for a TV commercial that you use to market your products.
To learn more about patent and copyright, go to TIPO’s website at
Legislation governing trademarks
In the ROC, the laws that govern registration of trademarks
include the Trademark Act and its subsidiary legislation (e.g. the
Enforcement Rules and Standards of Trademark Fees). There are
also administrative rules formulated by TIPO such as examination
guidelines and operational points (go to “Laws” at
Is it mandatory to register a trademark?
No. It is not mandatory to register a trademark in the ROC. You
can use your trademark in the course of trade without any
registration. However, your trademark will not be protected by
the laws because it is not registered. If not protected, there is no
stopping others from using your trademark. Therefore, it is more
difficult claiming your rights to an unregistered trademark than it
is for owners of registered trademarks seeking remedies available
to them. However, if you simply want to use an unregistered
trademark, you are advised to go to our database and find out if it
is already registered or is still undergoing application process. This
will help prevent you from inadvertently infringing the rights of
proprietors of registered trademarks.
Advantages to registering a trademark
Although it is not mandatory to register a trademark in order to
use it, a trademark registration adds great values to run a
business. A registered trademark entitles its proprietor to
statutory exclusivity and remains valid within a given term
throughout the entire territory of the ROC. As the proprietor of a
registered trademark, you will:
♦have the exclusive right to use your registered trademark for
the goods or services specified in the registration;
♦have the right to authorize use by other people of your
registered trademark for the goods or services specified in the
♦ have the right to sell the registered trademark or use it as a
property to establish a pledge;
♦ be able to stop people from using your trademark for the
goods or services which might be covered by your trademark
registration and thereby causing confusion; and
♦ be able to request Customs to prevent the importation or
exportation of goods that infringe your registered trademark.
As such, you may take a legal action against infringers that use
your registered trademark as their own on identical or similar
goods or services without your consent. In other words, your
registered trademark enables you to better protect your market
share or profits by preventing people from counterfeiting it.