A legal compliance audit is an evaluation of an organization’s operations to determine its compliance with the laws and regulations that apply to its operations.
A trademark is a word or symbol, it can be a name, logo, signature, drawing or anything adopted to cause immediate identification of the source for goods and, or services which inspire trust, admiration and loyalty with a perceived level of quality.
Trademarks helps the owner or services providers or products manufacturers to market their products or services, they help the consumers to identify, choose and finally purchase a product or service because of its quality as it has been displayed by the trademark owner over the years.
Registration of a trademark gives an exclusive right to the use of that mark by its proprietor or licensee also known as registered user, assignee and any other beneficiaries. This exclusive right is extended for the initial period of seven years and renewable for ten years consecutively as per the Trade and Service Mark Act, Cap 326 and its Trade and Service Mark Regulations of 2000.Registered trademarks bring on board the following benefits:
1. Securing Exclusivity
Registering your trademark is the quickest and most cost-effective way to ensure legal exclusivity for the use of your name or logo etc. Registering a trademark for your business or product name is similar to obtaining a certificate of title in relation to land.
Registering your trademark significantly reduces the risk of being prevented from using your name or logo by other traders.
2. Geographical Coverage
Registering your trademark usually gives you nation-wide protection instead of rights that are restricted to the specific areas or regions in which you trade.
Further, if you want to expand overseas, this gives you a good platform to obtain rights in other countries – even before you commence trading in those countries.
3. Deterring and Preventing Others
Trademark registration deters other traders from using trademarks that are similar or identical to yours in relation to goods and services like yours (referred to here as “conflicting trademarks”). This benefit manifests itself in a number of ways:
a. Before other traders choose their brand names: Being able to use the ® symbol puts others on notice of your rights, and being registered means that others can find your trademark when searching the official register before choosing to commence using a particular name. This makes it much less likely that they will choose to use a conflicting mark in the first place. b. When other traders seek to register their brand names as trademarks: Having your trademark on the register makes it likely that trademark examiners will refuse to register conflicting marks. If (despite this) another trader is able to convince a trademark examiner to accept the mark for registration, having a prior registered mark gives you a strong right to oppose the registration before it is officially entered on the register. c. When you discover another trader using a conflicting mark in the market place: Having a registered trademark makes it much easier, quicker and cheaper for you to prevent other traders from using conflicting trademarks.
4. Protecting yourself from Infringement Claims
If Person A is using her registered trademark, the Trade and Service Mark Act, Cap 326 gives her a complete defense should a second person (e.g Person B) sue her for infringing his trademark. In other words, as long as she is using her registered trademark, she knows that she is not infringing the rights of any other traders.
5. Controlling the Use of your Brand by Others
Registering your trademark makes it a lot safer and easier to license the use of your trademark to others (e.g. manufacturers, distributors, franchisees etc.).
6. Capturing the Value of what you Create
Holding a registered trademark significantly increases the value of your brand to potential purchasers, and hence any purchaser of your business is likely to pay much more for the goodwill that you build up.
Has your organization taken the necessary action to insure the integrity of its trademark by registering it? If not, we encourage you to do so. By protecting a trademark, an enterprise is in effect of protecting its reputation while discouraging counterfeiting and imposters.