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- Trademark Advice for Individuals and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
In Japan, about 120 thousand trademark applications are filed yearly, and about 100 thousand trademarks are yearly registered.
Why are so many trademark applications filed?
This is because, where business is conducted, trademarks always exist there regardless of a company size or a business type. Accordingly, trademark protection in the form of the trademark right is necessary.
2.Importance of Obtaining Trademark Right
What do you think of obtaining trademark right?
- Individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises are irrelevant to trademark registration.
- No one would make a claim for your infringement of the trademark right.
- When someone makes a claim for your infringement of the trademark right, then it will be no problem if you only change the name.
- No one would copy you.
- The name of goods does not matter to sales because you have confidence in your goods.
- Cost required for trademark registration is too high.
Don’t you think as above?
These are not correct (though the view on the cost for trademark registration may depend …). The following provides you with good explanation for each of the above.
(1) Individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises are irrelevant to trademark registration.
In trademark registration, the company size does not matter. All your company name, goods name and service name you use are trademarks and you need to protect them yourself. The first step for protection is trademark registration.
Actually, many trademarks are registered to individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises.
(2) No one would make a claim for your infringement of the trademark right.
Years ago, this was true because owners of trademark rights could not find out the use of their trademarks in small-sized businesses and therefore could not make a claim. However, nowadays, this is not true because of the wide-spread use of the Internet. You advertise your goods or services on the Internet. Further, your goods or services may get a reputation somewhere and become popular by word of mouth. Then, the owner of the trademark right may not stay silent.
(3) When someone makes a claim for your infringement of the trademark right, then the name should be changed.
Certainly, if you change the name, the issue of your infringement of the trademark will be solved at that point. However, compensation for damage to the owner of the right of the trademark by your infringement prior to changing the name will be requested. Then, you will not only be required to compensate for the damage to the owner of the trademark right but also basically suffer a significant damage from embroilment in an infringement suit.
Further, if you change the name of your goods or services every time you are claimed to infringe someone’s trademark right, you cannot grow your core goods or services. Then, you cannot gain credit from your customers.
(4) No one would copy you.
Even if your goods are not copied, your company name and/or goods name may be copied. In such a case, even if you are the first to think of the name and use the name, you may become an infringer of the trademark right if the copier registers the trademark earlier than you (there is a remedy for such a case; however, in practice, it is very difficult to remedy the situation).
(5) The name of goods does not matter to sales because you have confidence in your goods.
Today, online shopping has become common and consumers often purchase goods without directly picking up the goods. Accordingly, your excellent goods may be a good target of an infringer. If the infringer sells inferior goods named the same as your goods, your customer may consider that this inferior goods are your goods and purchase online the inferior goods. Then, your customer will suffer a loss and consequently, you will be discredited.
(6) Cost required for trademark registration is too high.
It is true that trademark registration requires cost. However, the risk as described above can be avoided in advance by trademark registration and you can use your company and goods names free from anxiety. Once a trademark is registered to you, the right of the trademark is effective for 10 years (extended further by renewal). Therefore, the trademark registration can be taken as an “insurance” that costs several thousand yen. Then, the cost does not seem too high, does it?
In this way, the trademark registration protects your business so that your business can be securely conducted.
Furthermore, your trademark registration prevents fake goods having your goods name. Therefore, your customers can safely purchase your goods. In other words, the trademark registration not only protects your business but also serves as a service for allowing your customers to safely purchase your goods.
3.We support individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises.
We consider that the importance of trademark registration could be well understood from the above. Now, the information you need is how to register a trademark. Registration may seem complex and daunting, but our firm will provide comprehensive support throughout the entire registration process to ensure optimal protection of your business and trademark. Through our SME Consultation Station, we offer specialized support for the unique needs of small and medium-sized enterprises, so please consult us about any matter, large or small.