In building your business, it’s important to create a unique brand that immediately tells your customers what sets you apart from your competitors. Your trademark can play an essential role in distinguishing this brand.
A trademark is a name, logo, slogan, symbol, sign, mark, or a combination of these, used to identify an individual or a company. Ideally, you should include your trademark with your products or services so your customers can instantly recognize you as the source. As your customer base and reputation grow, your trademark may serve as an advertising and marketing tool to remind people of the kind of product and service you provide.
To keep the uniqueness of your trademark, you have to protect it from potential duplications, whether done deliberately or by accident. The best way to do this is by registering your trademark with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.
Here are the steps involved in registering your trademark:
Before filing your application, it’s a good idea to first check the IPO’s database for registered trademarks that may be similar to what you plan to use. This will help ensure that your trademark is unique, and avoid any delays that may arise due to any similarity with an existing trademark.
The next step is to submit all the necessary documents to the Bureau of Trademarks at the Intellectual Property Office. You may do this in person or online.
For online application, simply provide the details requested on the IPO website, including a file with the reproduction of the mark. The system will take you through a step-by-step process. Pay the filing fee through any of the accredited payment methods given on the site and send proof of payment using the platform.
For in-person application, the following are the steps:
The application fees as of August, 2020 are P1,200 for a small entity, or one with assets valued at P100,000 or less; and P2,592 for a large entity, or one with assets valued at more than P100,000.
The search and examination process is done to achieve two things:
In addition to conflicts with similar trademarks, potential violations include:
To get a good idea of what the IPO looks for in examining trademarks, check out this page.
If your trademark is approved after the search and examination process, it’s published in the IPO e-Gazette so the public may be informed about the application and raise any opposition to it. You need to pay a 1st Publication fee of P900 if you’re a small entity, or P960 if you’re a big entity.
If an individual or company thinks it has grounds to oppose the application — for example, if it violates their existing trademark or damages their reputation — they have up to 30 days to make their opposition known to the IPO’s Director of the Bureau of Legal Affairs.
If the Director of the Bureau of Legal Affairs does not receive or verify any opposition, the IPO will issue a Certificate of Registration to you. The certification is valid for 10 years, after which you may apply for renewal.
A 2nd Publication Fee of P570 for small businesses or P1,200 for large businesses is required.
After you’re issued a Certificate of Registration, the IPO again publishes your registered trademark on the e-Gazette to indicate its entry into official records. This involves a fee of P900 for a small business or P960 for a large business.