We have all heard of trademarks being part and part of intellectual property but understanding what they mean is another story.
A trademark is a distinctive sign that identifies certain goods or services produced or provided by an individual or a company from those of other enterprises. This could be a sign or mark that includes any word, symbol, slogan, logo, sound, smell, colour, brand label, name, signature, letter, numeral or any combination of them and should be capable of being represented graphically.
The essence of this is to help a consumer or any customer easily identify a product. For example, when you see an apple with a single bite, there is no question in your mind that you are looking at a Mac product. The beauty of a trademark is its distinctiveness. A trademark should be non-descriptive and not likely to confuse. When a person registers a trademark, its registration confers exclusive rights to the owner to prevent others from using the same or confusingly similar mark.
As you start your business or invention, you may be wondering why it’s necessary to create a trade mark for yourself. After all, you already have a business name. Creating a trademark for oneself carries the following benefits:
Any person or corporation who is the owner of a mark used, or proposed to be used, by him in Uganda, may make an application for the registration of a mark in Uganda. Such a person must first search to ascertain whether the trademark exists in the register upon payment of a prescribed fee.
A trademark application is then filed upon payment of application fees. The application should contain the mark proposed to be used, the class of goods or services, the name, address and the signature of the applicant. Where the applicant is a foreign company/person, a power of attorney (simply-signed) or Form of Authorization to an Agent, who must be an advocate of the High Court of Uganda, is required. The filled application is then filed at the Trademarks Registry.
The application is examined by the Registrar to determine its inherent registrability and conflict with prior existing registrations and or applications. Where the application is accepted by the Registrar of Trademarks, the application is then advertised in the Uganda Gazette for 60 days. If there is no objection after the expiration of 60 days of the advertisement, the Registrar shall upon payment of the prescribed fee by the applicant enter the trademark in the register and issue a certificate of registration. A separate application is required for each class of goods.
In Uganda, a trademark is valid for seven years from the filing date of the application and may be renewed indefinitely for successive ten-year periods upon payment of the prescribed renewal fee.
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