What Is a Trade Mark?
A trade mark is often referred to as a "brand" or "brand name". A trade mark can apply to goods and/or services. A trade mark is used in connection with a distinctive sign which identifies certain goods or services as those produced or provided by a specific person or enterprise (World Intellectual Property Organization/WIPO)
Why should I have a Trade Mark?
A trade mark adds value to your business as an intangible asset, In today's economy this is being more recognized and used in commercial transaction. In addition, by distinguishing your goods or services from those of other traders, a trademark is probably the single most valuable marketing tool that most traders can have.
The Many Benefits of Registration of a Trade Mark
As the owner of a registered Trade Mark, you:
- Have the exclusive right to use your registered trade mark as a brand name, for the goods and services specified in the registration
- Have the exclusive right to authorize other people to use your registered trade mark for the goods and services specified in the registration and can stop people from your trade mark on the goods or services of your trade mark registration
- Have a registered trade mark which is personal property and can be sold
Do I have to Register my Trade Mark?
No. Registration is not compulsory, but without registration a trade mark owner cannot bring an action in court for infringement to protect the trade mark. In addition, if you do not Register your trade mark you will have to bring a common law action for passing off to protect an unregistered mark. We would strongly advise to register your trade marks where possible.
How Do I Register my Trade Mark?
An application for registration of a trade mark must be filed at the Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property Office, Hewlett House, St. John's Street, St. John's, Antigua, West Indies. ore information is provided in the Contact Us Section.
Requirements of the Application
The trade mark regulations stipulates the following prescribed forms must be filled for Registration: Form 1, Form 2 (if you are not a resident in Antigua and Barbuda) and we also request a statutory declaration with the amount of time if any the trade mark has been used for the publishing in the Gazette.
The application must contain a clear reproduction of the sign filed for registration, including any colours, forms, or three-dimensional features: The application must also contain a list of the goods and/or services to which the sign would apply. The list of goods or services must fall under one class as set in the Nice Classification: http://classifications.wipo.int/fulltext/nice
The sign must fulfill certain conditions in order to be protected as a trade mark. For instance, the sign must be distinctive, so that consumers can distinguish it as identifying a particular product or service. It must neither mislead nor deceive customers or violate public order or morality. Finally, the rights applied for cannot be the same as, or similar to, rights already granted to another trade mark owner. This may be determined through a search and examination done at the Office or by the opposition of third parties who claim similar or identical rights.
Upon arrival, the mark will be advertised in the Official Gazette. Anyone having an objection to the mark as published must file a notice of opposition at the office within three months on the of which the application was published.
How long will a Registered Trade Mark be in Force?
A trade mark is registered for 10 years and can be renewed every ten years. The renewal fee is EC$175.00, EC$200.00 if it is less than three months is EC$300.00
The Madrid System and Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is the only English speaking Caribbean country that is a member of the Madrid protocol since the year 2000.
The Madrid System is a known as a one stop solution for registering and managing trade marks internationally. This means that you can file one application, in one language, and pay one set of fees to protect your mark in as many as 96 countries.
Before you can file an international application, you need to have already registered, or have filed an application at ABIPCO. The registration or application is known as the "basic mark". You then need to submit your international application through ABIPCO, which will certify and forward it to World Intellectual Property Organization.
For further information on this we would advise you Contact Us.