[Part 4 of our Brand Rights blog series]

Trademark is the most important and essential brand right for the majority of companies. Jani Kaulo emphasizes the key requirements for a trademark: "A trademark must be distinctive; it should not directly describe the product or its features, and it should not be confused with previous trademarks or company names."

Trademark helps stand out in the market

For most companies, trademarks are the most crucial brand rights. A trademark is a recognizable symbol, design, or expression that distinguishes a particular product or service from those offered by other companies. It helps identify and differentiate the brand and the products or services it offers in the market.

It is essential to distinguish a trademark from the company's business name. A trademark differs from a business name in that the official business name is used in the company's legal documents, invoices, contracts and official communications to refer to the company itself. A business name is not necessarily protected like a trademark, and it does not automatically grant exclusive rights to the use of that name in the same way that a trademark protects a specific symbol or identifier in the market.

Trademarks are a vital part of a brand's identity, protecting the distinctiveness of products or services in the market. They can take various forms, such as words, images, combinations thereof, product shapes, or even colors.

Key considerations for trademarks: distinctiveness and non-confusability

A trademark must be distinctive, meaning it should not directly describe the product or its features. For instance, the word "BASIC" may not be suitable as a trademark because it could describe the fundamental nature of the product. On the other hand, "BATTERY" may evoke associations but does not directly describe the product unless it refers to a battery or accumulator.

Suggestive brands that evoke associations are inherently distinctive. However, in recent years, trademark offices have tightened their interpretation of distinctiveness, especially concerning suggestive marks that could be deemed too descriptive and therefore ineligible for registration. The strongest distinctiveness lies in entirely imaginative brand names with no meaning based on common language.

A trademark to be protected must not refer to the trademark, business name or surname of another company or person. This prevents confusion or conflicts between different brands. The assessment of confusion is always made based on the branch, products, and services. Thus, completely different products and services could have identical trademarks without the risk of confusion.

Before choosing a new brand name, it is crucial to conduct trademark searches to assess the distinctiveness and find out whether a previously registered trademark can create an obstacle to the registration of the planned brand name or may be confused with the trademarks of others.

Utilize brand elements and trademarks creatively

Trademarks are not limited to words or images; they can encompass various elements such as slogans, names of individuals or fictional characters, 3D marks, sounds, scents, and even location indicators. This versatility allows brands to create a strong and unique identity in the market through trademarks.

Creativity in choosing brand names and other brand elements also creates legally strong trademark protection. A strongly distinctive trademark enjoys broad exclusive rights, thus enabling the brand owner to effectively prohibit competitors from using similar marks.

The legal strength of a trademark protection significantly impacts the return on investment in the company's marketing efforts, ensuring that the goodwill value acquired for the brand remains with the company and does not flow to the benefit of competitors.

The threshold for trademark protection through establishment is high

Exclusive rights to a trademark can be obtained not only through trademark registration but also through establishment. However, in practice, the threshold for obtaining protection through establishment is particularly high and generally requires long-term and extensive use of the trademark for specific products or services.

Trademark registration is a faster, more secure, and therefore recommended means of protection.

Want to increase the value of your brand rights? Contact us!

Book a complimentary consultation

Maria Puronvarsimaria.puronvarsi@kaulopartners.fi+358 40 669 0527
Jani Kaulojani.kaulo@kaulopartners.fi+358 40 637 5442

Read more

Register your trademark – don't rely on establishment [Part 7 of our Brand Rights blog series]

What does trademark distinctiveness mean and why is it important? [Part 6 of our Brand Rights Blog Series]

Protecting your trademark through registration [Part 5 of our Brand Rights blog series]

Company name is not sufficient brand protection in international markets [Part 3 of our Brand Rights blog series]

Brand rights into brand value [Part 2 of our Brand Rights blog series]

Brand elements into brand rights [Part 1 of our Brand Rights blog series]