Trademarks allow business corporations to differentiate themselves from their competition and protect themselves as well as their consumers from fraudulent products that are made to appear similar or identical to their own. Trademarks are essential as they are used by companies that have a brand value attributed to them. It ensures the quality of the product or service and protects the company from fraudulent misuse of the brand name or logo for unlawful gain. Trademarks boost engagement globally, as well by equipping brand owners with recognition and hindering counterfeiters. Furthermore, trademark laws prevent innocent consumers from being misled into paying a premium price for second-rate goods and services.
Now that we understand what an important role trademark plays in ensuring the longevity and success of a business, let us understand how trademarks are protected in other countries such as the USA, the UK, and the UAE.
ANALYSIS OF TRADEMARK LAWS IN THE USA
The US trademark framework is rather flexible and quite broad in nature. The chief statute from which protection against trademark infringement and unfair competition in the United States is the Lanham Act, 15 USC Section 1051 et seq.
The Supreme Court of USA, on the subject, elaborated that “In truth, a trademark confers no monopoly whatever in a correct sense, but is merely a convenient means for facilitating the protection of one’s goodwill in trade by placing a distinguishing mark or symbol-a commercial signature-upon the produce or the package in which it is sold.”
In the USA, trademark registration is not always compulsory to get brand name rights, the first company to use a distinctive mark in business may hold rights to that trademark for the goods or services with which the imprint is associated with. The possessor of an unregistered trademark is not permitted to use the ‘®’ stamp alongside its trademark, nevertheless, the possessors of such unregistered mark may use the ‘™’ stamp to announce his claim on the mark. In the USA Trademark rights can also be lost. Improper licensing, inadequate quality control, assignment, genericity, or abandonment can all lead to a brand’s trademark being cancelled.
ANALYSIS OF TRADEMARK LAWS IN THE UK
The UK trademark landscape is mostly governed by the Trade Marks Act of 1994 and is predominantly in accord with the EU trademark law. The act defines a trademark as “any sign capable of being represented graphically which is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.”
The trademark registration procedure is somewhat more rigid and systematic in the United Kingdom when compared to the United States. The Register of Trademarks in the UK is subdivided into 45 different administrative classes of goods and services. Once the trademark is chosen, an application must be made to the UK Intellectual Property Office with the respective administrative class specifying the goods and/or services for which the mark is intended.
The trademark once received must be renewed every ten years.
On the occasion of a trademark infringement, the trademark possessor who is victorious in proving its registered mark has been infringed is empowered to seek remedies such as damages, an injunction restraining further use, erasure, obliteration of the trademark sign from the articles on which it appears, or even destruction of the counterfeit articles.
ANALYSIS OF TRADEMARK LAWS IN THE UAE
The trademark regime in the UAE is quite similar to the general concept of trademarks. In the UAE, protection against trademark infringement is governed by Federal Law No. 37 of 1992 on Trademarks. The registered mark will be given exclusive rights in UAE following the TM enrolment. To retain the trademark following ten years, the trademark owner needs to pay additional fees to the UAE Ministry of Economy for further extension.
The Trademark regime in the UAE provides penal solutions for the infringement of branded trademarks in form of fines and detainment. Articles 37 and 38 of the aforementioned law lays out specific criminal offences making punishable the act of fraudulently fabricating and emulating trademarks. The trial for such disputes in the court of law favour written pleadings over oral pleas. Sufficient time is given to the parties in dispute to plead their case before the court makes its final decision. Infringement can also be disputed through the Dubai Customs, which has the power to stop infringing items from entering into the land.
In further news, the UAE is looking to implementing the GCC Trade Mark Law in the near future, which a much welcomed additional layer of protection for the brand owners. The government of UAE has also made elaborate plans and taken active steps aimed at setting up of specialized IP Courts.
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