Definition of Brand and Trademarks - 1.0 out of 5 based on 2 votes

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Branding is one of the branches of marketing that was emerged during 19th century by entrance of packed products. Unique form of Coca-Cola bottles, round blue-white logo of BMW and colorful logo of apple with a bite taken out are all significant samples of brands which are recognized immediately because of their logo. In fact, the merchants are selecting a specific sign and distribute their products with that sign in order to distinguish their products from products of other firms. The main consequence of this effort is that a consumer may immediately realize that the product belongs to his/her entrusted company. Usage of logos is so prevalent that a client may purchase a product only on the basis of its brand and logo while he is has no information about its manufacturer or related firm.

Article 1 of Signs and Inventions approved in July 1931 is defining trademarks as follows: “trademarks are part of each sign including pattern, picture, figure, letter, seal, cover, and etc. that are employed to distinguish an industrial, commercial or agricultural product from others.”

One of the oldest definitions of brand was provided by American Marketing Association (AMA) in 1960. This definition emphasizes on importance of used symbol and marks employed in a trademarks as a basis for distinguishing a trademarks from others. According to this definition: brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any combination of these feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.

Shortly, a brand may be considered as a symbol of the good that can transfer related message to the client through a logo, combination of colors, sounds, marks and written methods and reminds related product immediately after first look. A trademark may be registered if includes some words, letters, figures, picture, symbol, 3D designs (form and packaging of goods), audio signs such as music or sounds, scent, or various colors or combination of these items to introduce specification of related product.

Brand is supporting human mind as a shortcut in facing huge amount of marketing information while acting as a perspective to prevent senior managers to ignore their main goal. An appropriate perspective of brand will provide required motivation for managers, personnel and consumers to move toward greater goals. Advertisement of Nike Company as “You don’t win silver, You lose gold” is a good sample which provides new perspective for consumers and encourage special behaviors.

Moreover, trademark is a unique opportunity to make the products impressive, distinctive and persistent. This opportunity may be used for marketing goals to reach expected success of the company. They can excite consumers’ ignitions and affections and form client’s loyalty by supplying their expectations. In such conditions, will only buy these trademarks even similar products will offer with lower prices. Such commitment will create in a process including different stages of familiarizing the client with product, make the brand impressive and cause them to prefer that special brand.

A successful brand is the one that is impressive while can be pronounced and advertised easily.

Considering aforesaid items, trademarks bylaw had categorized commercial goods and the signs registered for each category may not be register or transfer in same category for different goods.

Trademarks are categorized in different groups including: chemical industries and products; metals and related products; technical, scientific and industrial machineries and instruments; products made by various materials; textile products; toys and sport equipment; foodstuff and agricultural products; etc.

Advantages and Effects of Registering Brands and Trademarks
One of the simplest interpretations of a brand is its application to acquire the product’s legal ownership. Creation of a brand indicates investment on a special product; therefore, organizations will try to acquire its legal ownership as a supportive tool against the ones who simulate that brand.

Official registration of a brand will provide legal support for their owners. Accordingly, registration and legal protection are among the factors that will cause impression of that brand. Legal protection of a brand is the main step to create a powerful brand. In a modern competing world which is supplying varied products, the companies with registered brands and trademarks will have more efficient conditions to attract consumers and are practically insured against competitors’ policies. By registering a brand, name and specifications of the product will be used correctly and safe from probable losses. In fact, a product or service which lacks distinctive specification may be registered as a brand and kept safe from probable losses.

Brand registration has different advantages and impacts including exclusive application of that brand which prevent supply of same products by third parties under same or illusive brands. It is noteworthy that exclusive right of application of a brand will only provide for the ones who had registered their brands.

By registration of a brand, the product’s name and address will be used correctly to reach company’s goals and objectives. In fact, registration of trademarks will have different advantages including following items:

  • The trademark will be used exclusively by the ones who had registered it. As per Trademark Registration Law, the company will acquire exclusive right of trademark application after payment of related costs and registration of trademark. Therefore, it will be prevented third parties to present same products with same or illusive trademarks. If a manufacturer uses your brand and trademark without your permission, you will be authorized to lay claims in legal courts and ask them to pay related losses. Trademarks’ protection will prevent forgers to use such marks for selling raunchy products and services. Registration of brands will also create healthy conditions for consumers to supply standard goods with enough information in a fair and safe atmosphere and away from black market. Usage of same or similar trademarks by competitors will mislead the consumers and cause losses for both clients and producers by damaging company’s profit and endangering its reputation and fame. A challenge that our businesses are facing increasingly.
  • Brand registration may cause added value for shares and accordingly increase company’s income.
  • Trademark registration will enable consumers to distinct related product from other similar ones.
  • Trademark registration will also enable companies to distinct their products from each other.
  • Trademark registration is important for receiving financial facilities and loans.
  • Trademark registration will create reputation and fame for companies and is an appropriate tool for marketing.

 

Ownership of Brand and Trademarks and Method of Transferring such Ownership

  • Trademarks are transferable and shall be registered in accordance with Patent and Trademark Registration Law of IR Iran. A separate statement and transcripts shall be provided for transfer registration. Moreover, in cases that the transfer is compulsory or inherited, confirming transcripts and documents shall be provided for department of trademark registration to be initially registered and published in official gazette to perform primary formalities for registration. Hence, the owner shall be permitted to transfer the trademark because such ownership is a valuable prominence and right of performing commercial operations. Accordingly, its ownership will be inherited after death of its owner. As a result, a registered trademark can be transferred to third party companies to cause additional income for the company or entity and being considered as a basis of concluding sales agency contract.
  • A trademark may be considered as a valuable inventory of each business.
  • A trademark will encourage companies to invest on preserving or improving products’ quality.

Obligatory and Optional Items in Registration of Brands and Trademarks
In accordance with law, registration of trademarks is optional except in cases that the government had constraint the owners to register their trademarks. The registered trademark will be protected for duration of ten years while this registration can be extended for unlimited times by payment of related costs. As per approval of Board of Ministers dated 03/02/1328, it is obligatory to register trademarks for following products and goods:

  • Medical drugs
  • Foodstuffs that are presented in specific packages and dishes.
  • Beverages and carbonated waters
  • Cosmetics that are used directly on human skin

According to this article, all medical products, drugs and foodstuffs mentioned in related bylaw even produced in Iran or imported from other countries shall be presented in market under special name and label with registered industrial signs and trademarks. The labels on mentioned products shall include following information:

  • Brand and address of the manufacturer in addition to the name of country of origin
  • Registration number of the trademark in Iran

As per Article 2 of this bylaw, aforesaid sign and information shall be inserted on imported goods before being sold in internal markets. Moreover, as indicated in Article 7 of this bylaw, label mentioned in Article 1 shall be attached in a manner that cannot be separated easily while name of the company, name and address of manufacturer, registration number and mark and date and number of sale in Iran issued by Ministry of Health are legible. All mentioned printed items may be in foreign language for imported goods and usage of Persian language is optional for such items.

By virtue of abovementioned bylaw, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance issued a notice in 1963 about enforcement of mandatory regulations of registering and using industrial signs on drugs, foodstuffs and cosmetics. In accordance with this notice, all drugs used in medical and veterinary hospitals, foodstuffs, special flours, different teas, cocoa, chocolate, candy, cheese, jam, pickle, butter, oils, mineral and carbonated waters, juice and syrup, and cosmetics that are used directly on human body including soap, paste, ointment, powder, lotion, perfume, and deodorant even manufactured in Iran or imported from countries shall be sold in market with a label includes registered industrial signs or trademarks.

Brand and address of the manufacturer in addition to origin country, registration number in Iran, number and date of permit issued by Ministry of Health (for drugs) shall be inserted on labels. It is notified at the end of this notice that all importers and manufacturers of abovementioned products are obliged to registered their brands and information and attach mentioned signs and label in one month from date of this notice. After this term, all product without registered and attached signs and labels including imported or stored by manufacturer or seller (whole seller, shopkeeper, and retail seller) will be seized and pursued in accordance with paragraph (B) of Article 249 of Public Penal Code.

By virtue of Article 47 of Trademark Registration Law approved on 2007, non-registered brands will be protected against third parties’ acts if observing mandatory laws and regulations of brand registration. Any usage of such brands by third parties in form of brand, trademark or any other types of application which mislead the public is illegal.

Registrable and Unregistrable Brands and Trademarks
As per Article 5 of Signs and Patents Registration Law approved in 1931, unregistrable brands and trademarks are as follows:

  • Flag of origin country or any other countries that related government prohibit registering it as trademark.
  • Governmental and official signs (i.e. emblem of Islamic Republic of Iran, Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, etc.)
  • Marks and signs that are against public discipline and virtue
  • Marks that had previously registered
  • Words and phrases that refer to official organizations and authorities of IR Iran or induce them such as revolutionary, governmental and etc.

Changes: if the trademark owner intend to change details of its mark or specify same trademark to different products for example use the mark of tea packages for cosmetics, he shall inquire in a separate statement. Accordingly, trademark registration department will issue a new permit for the inquirer after registering mentioned claim in original registration documents and notice in official gazette.

Penal regulations and penalties of the ones who illegally employed or forged registered brands and trademarks
The Law is protecting trademarks with exclusive application rights and prohibiting others to use such registered brands and trademarks. Considering social interest in publication of trademarks and brands, individuals who illegally used other’s trademark and brand are sentenced to compensate losses of trademark owners. These penalties include all losses and even deprived profits (Article 49). In fact, the Law is considering loss of profit as the losses that shall be compensated by lawbreakers. Islamic Penal Code approved in August 1983 determined following penalties for offenders:

Article 122: anybody who forge registered trademarks knowingly or use it while is aware that it had forged or attached that trademark on its papers, notices and products, or sell such products or change (omit or add a part to) it, or imitate its specifications to mislead the public will be sentenced to 74 lashes.
Article 123: anybody who export or import forged trademarks or the trademarks owned by others will be sentenced to three month to three years of imprisonment.

Article 124: following entities will be sentenced up to six month of imprisonment:

  • The ones who do not used mandatory labels and marks on related products.
  • The ones who knowingly sell the product with marks and signs which are not mandatory for that product.

It is noteworthy that nowadays trademarks are registered and protected in all countries. The national or regional offices of registration are recording marks registration information including inquiry letter for registration or extension of registration although the results of this procedure limits to related country (or regional registration departments of that countries).

WIPO is executing International Trademark Registration System to prevent repeated registration in different countries or regions. This system is administered on the basis of two treaties: Madrid Agreement related to International Trademark Registration and Madrid Protocol. According to these two treaties, an entity connecting with aforesaid agreements on the basis of its nationality, place of residence, or place of institution will be authorized to ask for trademark registration in offices of that country to internationally registered related trademark in several or all members of Madrid Union.

FEKR-e BARTAR Company Registration Organization is pleased to answer your questions about legal and registration fields including company and brand registration.

You are honored to answer your questions in all occasions.

Requirements of Brand Registration for Citizens of Foreign Countries
Citizens of other countries (even real or natural entities) cannot register a brand in Iran on their names except in two occasions:

  • After registering a company in Iran
  • Through international registration on the basis of Madrid Agreement and Protocol

1) After Registering a Company in Iran
Legal and real entities will register their brands in Iran after registering a company with Iranian nationality in this country (even in cases that 100% of shareholders are citizen of foreign country). Hence, it is required to submit following documents for brand registration:

  • Notice of establishment of registered company in Iran
  • Last registered changes of that company (in cases that changes had made in State Organization for Registration of Companies)
  • Copy of identification documents of all company’s signatories (copy of passport confirmed by embassy of related country is required for shareholders who are citizen of other countries)

Note 1: brand registration is also require submission of documents certifying operation of that company including Commercial ID Card, Industrial Operation Certificate, Workshop/Factory Establishment License, Operation License, or any other documents confirming activity of that registered company or commencement of its operation.

Note 2: if you want to register your brand in any languages other than Persian, submission of Commercial ID Card is also required.

2) Registering the Brand through International Registration System on the basis of Madrid Agreement and Protocol
Referring to background of Paris Convention about supporting Industrial Ownership it can be concluded that the trademark owner shall submit various inquiries in different departments of varied countries with different languages (by payment of different costs and passing long-lasting procedures) to support its trademarks in international level.

In order to facilitate procedure of international registration and benefiting from related profits, some of the members of Paris Convention formed an International Union to protect industrial ownership and approved Madrid System as an Instruction for international registration of trademarks.

This system includes two treaties: Madrid Agreement approved in 1891 and related protocol approved on 1989 and also all mutual bylaws. Madrid system has 86 members including countries and regional offices.

It is noteworthy that inquiry for international registration is only possible through offices of Industrial Ownership that are among the members of Madrid System and depends upon registration in country of origin.

Mostly all countries are registering trademarks. Every national or regional trademark registration offices are recording and achieving collection of information about registered trademarks including all information required for all registered or extended trademarks, and searches and claims of third parties. Hence, effects of trademark registration are only limited to related country or territory.

WIPO is executing International Trademark Registration System to prevent repeated registration in different countries or regions. This system is administered on the basis of Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol which include international registration of trademarks. According to these two treaties, an entity connecting with aforesaid agreements on the basis of its nationality, place of residence, or place of institution will be authorized to ask for trademark registration in offices of that country to internationally registered related trademark in several or all members of Madrid Union. Currently, 86 different countries had joined Madrid System and applicants of International Trademark Registration can register their trademarks in expected countries through this system.

FEKR-e BARTAR Company Registration Organization is pleased to answer your questions about legal and registration fields including company and brand registration.

You are honored to answer your questions in all occasions.

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