What are Trade Marks?

Many companies have numerous trademarks but all businesses would have at least one trademark which may be the same as your business name. Toyota Corporation uses their TOYOTA house mark as well as many sub-marks like ALTIS, VIOS, CAMRY, PICNIC etc. A trademark can be a symbol like Apple Corporation’s applelogo2   or a slogan like Nike’s “JUST DO IT”, colours like the green and yellow that identifies BP petrol stations, a jingle like the short tune that Hisamitsu used, or shape of the product or packaging like the Toblerone chocolate or the Nescafe bottle.



The following steps are recommended to establish a valuable trademark:



It is important to select a trademark that will facilitate your marketing efforts but it is also important to select one that you can lay claim to exclusive right od use. You would not want to spend money launching your product and not be able to keep competitors from adopting an identical or similar mark.



Before launching a new product or service under a particular trademark, it is advisable to conduct a trademark availability search check that you are free to use the mark without infringing another’s rights and that you will be able to establish exclusive rights to the use of your chosen mark.



Although a trader may acquire rights in a trademark through actual use in the marketplace, a trademark registration gives its owner a statutory right against infringement and counterfeiting. Registration will also facilitate other commercial dealings like asset transfers, licensing, or using registration as collateral for financing.



A trademark should be properly used to sustain and enhance its value. You can lose rights to a mark by allowing it to become generic, for example, ASPIRIN and CELLOPHANE. A trademark registration may also be revoked because there has been no trade use for a continuous period of 5 years.You should use the symbol ® next to your trademark if the mark has been registered.  If it has not yet been registered, you should use the symbol ™ beside your trademark.



A trademark will lose its value if there is a proliferation of infringements or counterfeits. It is important to have diligent market surveillance.



Filing Requirements

To commence the process of registering the mark, the following information is needed:-


  • The applicant’s name and address
  •  If the mark is not a word mark, a clear representation of the logo
  • Goods and Services provided under the mark – Singapore uses the 10th Edition of the NICE Classification
  • Multi-Class filings are accepted in Singapore
  • Series filings are accepted in Singapore
  • No Power of Attorney is needed



Singapore also has become a signatory of an international trademark treaty known as the Madrid Protocol.  This treaty allows Singaporean companies to file their trademark in many jurisdictions with one single application. This makes it more cost-effective for Singaporean companies to register their trademarks in many countries of the world. For a list of counties under the Madrid Protocol, please see