The intellectual property and inventions of individuals and businesses can be protected by a trademark. IP law designates trademarks, service marks and registered trademarks. Even though copyrights might apply, exclusivity is only protected by a registered trademark. Trademarks therewith indicate a source of origin. To avoid generic protection, the extension of the IP right is limited. As such, trademarks can only include tangible and exclusive distinctions from other products or services.
Failure to use a trademark or when a trademark does not fall within the qualification requirements anymore, and thus becomes too generic, potentially makes the trademark and its registration obsolete and void. To guarantee the protection of intellectual property and other copyrights, the mere use of a disclaimer does not always suffice. The registration of a trademark provides further protection. Yet, the registration is limited to names, words, phrases, logos, symbols, designs, images, or its combinations. The price and thus limitations of the protection of the formal trademark registration depends on the location, scope and application of the underlying property.
The enforcement of IP and trademark rights ask for close monitoring and critical observation. The actual use of the trademark prevails over the registration and thus removal of the trademark from the registry can be a serious risk. Furthermore, third parties who feel their brand being affected by a trademark registration can object by proving the generic status of the mark. Case law and jurisprudence reveals that even common use can make the mark generic. As such, trademarks need periodic maintenance and professional guidance. Yet, brand privacy, copyright infringements and deliberate abuse of a mark can still be sufficiently protected.
Registration of a trademark and the application of copyright has a limited scope. Single trademarks have no global coverage. Therefore, overlap by registration in different jurisdictions and under various treaties might fulfil the systemic need of the applicant. The WTO agreement on TRIPS, the Madrid system and the EU Trade Mark system are mostly used to register a brand.