Trademark Registration in Sri Lanka – A Step By Step Guide

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You’ve finally registered your business, and you’re on your way to build a successful brand. You decided on a mark, or a logo that defines your company and now you’re wondering whether to keep using the mark on it’s own or register it now. To build your brand and stand out from the crowd, whether it’s an existing company or a startup, we know that it’s time consuming. It comes with added costs and risks. To protect the brand you built, you need to register your trademark. The risks of not registering are clear, because chances are if you think you have a great name for your brand, so will others. If you don’t register your trademark, someone else will instead – allowing them to have full control over the name.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a sign used to separate and to identify your business’s services from other distributors. It’s represented  in the form of your company’s logo or a signature. This registered mark allows you to protect your brand or logo by giving you the right to use it only. Registered marks fall under the category of the law with National Intellectual Property.

It comes in the form of a ™ symbol next to your name, and after the trademark registration completes, you can use the ® symbol.

What can register as a trademark?

The following is a list of marks that can register as a trademark in the application process. If you’re unsure of how your trademark should be, these are a few examples of the marks you can follow.

1.Invented Words

Famous brands have invented words as their trademarks. Making up your own word increases protection, and has a lower chance of objection. For example, Reebok doesn’t hold any dictionary meaning, but it works as as an established trademark.

2.Signatures and Logos

Your trademark can be in the form of your signature or your company logo as it’s distinctive and unique. If your signature represents your brand, your mark will register as a trademark.

3. Slogans

Slogans which are part of an advertising strategy register as a trademark. If your slogan is a part of a specific service or product, you can register it as your mark.

What makes a good trademark?

Now that you’ve already decided how your trademark looks like, make sure that it has at least one of the features below. Good trademarks aren’t forgotten  and allow you to protect your brand.

  • Be unique and use words that you create
  • Easy to remember and resonates with customers
  • Using non generic words
  • Refrain from using three letter acronyms

Who can register?

Registration of trademarks isn’t limited to anyone. Anyone can register for a trademark from corporate, partnerships to unincorporated individuals to associations. The registration is valid for a period of 10 years from the application registration date. It is renewable with a payment to last for 10 years.

How to Register?

To ease the process, here are the complete set of documents you will need for the trademark registration process in Sri Lanka.

  1. Submit your Name, Address and description of applicant
  2. Power of Attorney (Letter of Appointment)
  3. A complete list of goods and services under the NICE classification
  4. Either 6 hard copies of the mark or an electronic specimen of the mark. Remember, the size shouldn’t be more than 10cm x 10cm. Specimens are real life examples of how you use your mark. If you’re selling products, provide labels, tags, packaging material and containers.
  5. If you claimed priority, bring a certified copy of the convention application.
  6. Precise derivation of the mark. If the mark is not in English, bring the english translation of the mark.

Trademark Registration Process

You’ve prepared the documents needed. After the documents are final, the registration process on trademark registration follows.

1.Conducting the IP search (Optional)

2.Submitting the IP application along with the POA

3.Issue of Filing Number, by Intellectual Property Office

4.Queued for Examination stage

5.Examination of mark

6.Papers sent to translation department (if they need translation)

7.Papers sent for gazetting and made public

8.Objection period of 3 months

9.Certificate issued (if no objections)

Once the mark approves, the Government gazette will publish it, in case there is an opposition. If an opposition claim isn’t made, the application will proceed to the registration. If your mark is not approved, you will noted by the registrar.

The registrar allows you to make a written submission within one month against the rejection. In which case, the registrar will make modifications or refuse the application.

Advantages of registering a trademark

Despite it not being compulsory, a trademark is essential in protecting your brand. It allows your customers to recognize your goods and services with one brand name.

Ownership

The registered mark allows you, the owner, the exclusive right to use it, and assign it. Registration of your trademark shows proof of ownership. You can enforce these rights at court, whether it’s civil or criminal, and use it to stop others from using your mark and claim damages.

Sale

As a registered trademark is a company asset, you can sell it when the time comes. A trademark can add value to your business because it can protect your market share.

Licensing

As you hold ownership of your trademark, you can license it to other businesses.

Infringement

If you’re the owner of a registered trademark, you can pursue an infringement on your mark in courts. You don’t have to prove how reputed your business is. In the case of unregistered trademarks, you’ll have to prove your business credibility.

Is there protection from abroad?

No, there isn’t if you register for Sri Lanka alone. If you do business in other countries, remember that your trademark is only valid in Sri Lanka. You’ll have to apply for a multi-class trademark registration. You can register your trademark in the countries where your business operates.

Need help?

The trademark registration process is clear and set up for you, but if you need help setting up your mark, let us know. Feel free to contact us, one of our team members will get back to you shortly.

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