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How to Register a Trademark in the Philippines

How to Register a Trademark in the Philippines

In today’s very competitive business environment, your company’s reputation is often your best asset. Your trademark helps people remember your company and what it’s all about.

Once you’ve built your reputation and people see your trademark, they will know that they can expect an excellent product or service. A trademark can thus be a highly effective tool in keeping and growing your market, especially when you license it or open the business for franchising. For this reason, it’s very important to protect your trademark, and ensure it remains identified only with your company and nothing else.

Trademarks, service marks, patents, and similar intangible assets are protected under the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. In order to protect your asset, you need to have it registered with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPO.)

What constitutes a trademark?

IPO has defined a “mark”as a word, a group of words, a logo, sign, symbol, or any combination of these that’s capable of distinguishing a company’s products (trademark) or services (service mark) from others. A trademark is also often referred to as “brand.”

For your trademark to be eligible for registration, it has to meet the requirements set forth in Sec. 123.1 of the Intellectual Property Code. These include restrictions that could disqualify your trademark from getting registered, including:

  • Violation of common standards of morality

  • Disparaging or bringing to disrepute a person, religion, institution, national symbols and others

  • Misleading elements, including:

    • descriptive words which suggest the product’s characteristics or function. For example, “Matibay” for a brand of shoes, or “Kitchen” for kitchen utensils. 

    • geographical location or product description that has nothing to do with the product. For example, “Cebu lechon” for lechon not coming from Cebu nor prepared in the known Cebu style; or “Water” for a clear soda product 

  • Generic and customary terms, for example, “Gin”, “Sabon” or “Floor Wax”

  •  Names or images of a living person, unless authorized by the person himself

  • Trademarks that are confusingly similar with earlier registered marks of products with exactly the same or similar nature

  • Trademarks that are exactly the same as or confusingly similar to internationally or nationallyknown marks

What are the requirements for a trademark registration?

There are three basic requirements:

1. Filled-out application form – this includes the following:

  • Request for application 

  • Applicant’s name and address 

  • Applicant’s nationality or state of residency, and the country or state where the applicant has an established business 

  • If the applicant is a corporate or judicial entity, the state or country where it was organized and is legally existing 

  • For foreign applicants, information on their Philippine representative 

  • Any claim of priority or claim of color 

  • Information on the goods and services for which the trademark is to be appliedSpecimen of the trademark

2. Receipt of payment for application fees

3. Receipt of payment for application fees

What are the steps in applying for a trademark?

The process takes an average or 18 to 24 months, with five steps involved:

1. Filing – applications are filed with the Intellectual Property Office’s Bureau of Trademarks.

2. Search – the Bureau of Trademark conducts a search to determine if the submitted trademark is similar or identical to existing trademarks.

3. Examination – the Bureau reviews the trademark for compliance to the rules and requirements in place.

4. Publication – the trademark will be published on the IPO Gazette for 30 days to give notice to the public and to allow for any opposition.

5. Registration – if there’s no opposition to the trademark, the Bureau of Trademarks issues a Certificate of Registration, which is valid for 10 years.

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