Last week, I had the chance to meet with someone who was curious to find out more about my company. So, I did the natural thing and pointed him to my website. However, the first thing he exclaimed when the website appeared was, “I can sue you, you know?”.
That kind of stunned me as I was wondering what possible grounds he had to sue me. He then told me that my company’s logo looked like his company’s one. So, I asked him to show me his company logo and true enough, it had the same colour scheme. However, that’s where any similarities ended.
But that got my head thinking anyway.
Last I checked, it was not possible to trademark, copyright, nor patent a colour scheme. So, there would be no grounds for any sort of infringement suit based merely on colour.
Also, I have a nice little certificate hanging in my office, from MyIPO, which is a trademark registration certificate. So, in any sort of trademark suit, I have at least got my ass covered. If there was any suing of any sort to be had, the right to do so would be in the hands of the person with the registered mark.
Finally, my company was also older than his company. While this does not play directly into any suit, it at least shows that I had established it a lot earlier than him. When it comes to intellectual property, first in time tend to matter.
Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that all companies should, as a matter of urgency, register their trademark at the first possible opportunity. I would even hazard to say that it is one of the first things that a company should do, alongside buying up the domain name etc.
By having a registered trademark, we can at least start the business of protecting and defending our brand.
Furthermore, it doesn’t really cost that much to get it registered anyway. I do believe that the entire thing came to around RM2500 or so for a single category of registration. Also, I hired an IP lawyer, instead of a mere agent, to do it. An IP agent should be able to do things for less than a lawyer.
Oh, in case you didn’t know, trademarks are registered by category. So, it may become really expensive to register a trademark in multiple categories but how many companies are operating in so many industries anyway. If a company is big enough to have business interests in many categories, it should have the money to get itself registered anyway.
So, getting a trademark is something that I highly recommend.