When venturing into a business or undertaking a new lucrative activity is rarely considered the importance and need to register the brand with which the product or service will be announced and offered in the market, as well as the trade name with which the company will be identified.

Instead, it is usually expected to achieve some recognition and in some cases it may be late, what would be reflected in having to go to court to recognize who really holds the trademark right.

Since 1934, Panama is a Contracting State of the General Inter-American Convention for Trade Mark and Commercial Protection, with Protocol on the Inter-American Registration of Trade-Marks, signed in Washington, which entails the obligation to protect trademarks registered in any of the other Contracting States, such as Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and the United States of America, among others, prior to the fulfillment of specific requirements.

Globalization has led to the expansion of trademarks; social media has contributed to the empowerment of trademarks. In general, people wear, consume and know about trademarks, in such a way that they usually refer to the products/services by their brand and not by their description.

But what is a trademark? It is any sign, image, word, letter, figure, color, a combination of these elements or any other mean that allows individualizing a product or service, including the packaging in which it is commercialized. In other words, a trademark is the way in which the consumer perceives the product and activity offered by a third party.

For that, trademarks have been catalogued as follows:

TRADITIONAL

  • Denominative / Word Mark (letters and figures)
  • Figurative (drawing)
  • Mixed (a word in addition to designs)
  • Three-dimensional (i.e. bottle)

NON TRADITIONAL:

  • Colour (i.e. lilac color of Milka)
  • Smell (i.e. tennis ball)
  • Sound (i.e. Darth Vader breathing)
  • Tactile (i.e. bottle roughness)

Hence, the benefits of registering a brand are:

  • It grants the holder the right to its exclusive use
  • To obtain a right of ownership
  • It is the sign that distinguishes products or services from those of the competition
  • User licenses can be granted
  • It is considered an intangible asset, which is reflected in an increase in business value
  • Reputation and prestige: people usually do business with related companies
  • Denotes specific quality of the product or service, making it a guarantee. 

In accordance with the Trademark Law Treaty, most of the countries grant the registration for 10-years period, renewable for the same period indefinitely, and the brand is register based on Nice Classification consisting of 45 classes, where 1 to 34 are products and 35 to 45 corresponds to services.

When a new trademark is created, it is recommended not to use common words that may confuse the public. It should also be taken into consideration the possibility that the brand may become known or used in other jurisdictions, making it necessary to register it not only in the territory of origin, but also in those countries where it is intended to be used in the future.

In addition, a brand can be protected through legal actions as an opposition process or nullity and cancellation of use, so it is suggested to count on specialized advice on Industrial Property, to verify that your brand can be used in the national market and it can also be introduced to other countries without major stumbling blocks.