|One of the principal aims of a business is to build up goodwill
for its goods or services. This is done primarily by adopting, using
and promoting suitable trade marks. Properly promoted and protected,
a trade mark can become the single most valuable asset of a business.
Consider, for example, trade marks such as KERRYGOLD, GUINNESS
and AER LINGUS.
A trade mark is a mark (generally a word or symbol) used to distinguish
the goods or services of one particular business from those of its
competitors. The right to a trade mark can be acquired by use under
common law and/or by registration. The common law right can only be
invoked against a competitor in passing-off proceedings which are
extremely expensive and uncertain, essentially because of the necessity
of establishing a reputation based on usage. On the other hand, the
right in a registered trade mark can be enforced in an infringement
action where it is not necessary to prove reputation.
A trade mark can be protected by way of registration either at the
Irish Patents Office for Ireland, the Office for Harmonisation in
the Internal Market for Europe or internationally in certain designated
countries at the World Intellectual Property Organisation. Trade marks
can also be protected individually in most countries. In devising
and adopting a trade mark it is important that a preliminary search
be carried out to ensure that the chosen trade mark has not already
been registered by a third party. For further information concerning
protecting your trade mark it is advisable to consult a trade mark