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What is a brand?

Definition of the brand

A trademark is an industrial property right that is registered with a national, regional or worldwide office. In France, a trademark is registered with the INPI (Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle), in Europe with the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office). For an international trademark, you go through the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization).

The primary purpose of a trademark is to distinguish the goods and services of one undertaking from those of another: its owner may therefore prevent third parties from using the same trademark, or a related trademark, in the same or a related field of activity. This is in order to avoid any risk of confusion for the average consumer, who must not believe that two products from two different companies are related. As such, a trademark must be distinctive, i.e. it must be sufficiently arbitrary in relation to the sector of activity covered by the trademark, and available, i.e. it must not already be taken by a third party in the same sector of activity.

Trademark protection

Trademark rights are obtained through registration, which follows a filing procedure in which the Office has carried out a more or less thorough examination, depending on the country, has possibly raised objections, and has validated the registrability of the trademark. Furthermore, registration is only obtained if no third party has objected during the opposition period.

The trademark confers an exclusive right of exploitation on a sign, which is composed of verbal and/or figurative elements (such as logo, colours, font...). Depending on the distinctiveness of the trademark, it is more or less important to register it. in verbal form or in semi-figurative or figurative form.

A trademark is never universally protected: it is always registered for specific products and/or services, clearly identified in its wording. To find out more about classes of goods and services.

Trademark law actions

Being the owner of a registered trademark allows access to various actions that are not open to people who simply use a trademark without having filed it: opposition before the INPI, and infringement action before the judge.

Conversely, the trademark may be the subject of different actions if it does not meet the subjective criteria for remaining registered: the action for cancellation or the action for revocation for degeneration or the action for revocation for non-use.

Finally, the trademark is a valuable intangible asset of the company, which must be maintained in order to preserve or even increase its value. Trademark monitoring ensures that no third party attempts to register an identical or similar trademark, or to unduly appropriate the communication efforts made by the applicant. In the latter case, unfair competition and/or parasitism actions make it possible to put an end to the infringement.

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