The Importance of Trademarks Protection II

Andrew Betlehn Law OfficeEntrepreneurs, both novice and long-time players, could never ignore the use of Trademarks. A Trademark is an identity that distinguishes a product or service from similar ones in the market. Lately, several large companies have begun to recognize the existence of Trademarks as an asset. Some of these companies have even done evaluations of the Trademark of products and services.

Unfortunately, some startup entrepreneurs often take the wrong steps in their Trademark protection strategies. Many business owners assume that protection is only needed once a product or service is already well-liked by the public or when it is in demand in the market. In fact, entrepreneurs with such mindset would often face Trademark related disputes or would have to change their Trademarks due to the late registration.

Building a brand image is far from easy. Introducing a brand to the public requires strong and consistent efforts. Some entrepreneurs take years to introduce their brand. This is done because generally people grow fond toward certain brands. Getting a consumer to switch to a different brand is certainly not easy, as it requires trust and testimonies of many users. Therefore, it is only natural that a product or service has protection measures for its Trademark.

One thing to keep in mind is that Trademark protection does not happen automatically. Protection is obtained only by registering the Trademark one wishes to protect to the Ministry of Law and Human Rights cq. Directorate General of Intellectual Property (DITJEN KI). It should be noted that the registration of the Trademark is not automatically accepted by the State. There is a possibility that a Trademark applied for registration by an applicant may be rejected. Two general reasons for a Trademark being rejected are because the Trademark is the same as another registered Trademark or that it has “substantial similarity” to a registered Trademark.

In order to avoid rejection of a Trademark due to it being similar to another Trademark, the applicant preface the registration process by doing a search in advance in the DITJEN KI database. In this case, the most difficult thing is to identify a Trademark that has substantial similarity. This requires a more careful effort in the searching process and looking for similarities that may exist.

Thus what is substantial similarity? Basically, it refers to any similarities in the sound, shape, writing, composition and so on of two Trademarks, which in principle could cause confusion to consumers when it comes to the products or services. This is an effort by the State to protect the interests of consumers so as not to get goods that are not actually what they intend to get.

Now that we’ve looked into Trademarks that are not fit for registration, we will look at what it takes to register a Trademark. With the renewed system employed by DITJEN KI, the requirements needed to register a Trademarks are not complicated, namely you would need : an Identity Card / Company Deed / Passport, Trademark E-Ticket (Logo or Trademark Name to be registered), Digital Signature, and proof of payment for Trademark registration.

The above mentioned requirements are for novice entrepreneurs who wish to register their Trademarks independently. But for those registering through someone else or a consultant, a Power of Attorney (PoA) would be needed for the appointed Intellectual Property Consultant. In particular, an applicant for a Trademark that does not hold Indonesian citizenship would need a PoA to be able to register their Trademark.

A commonly asked question regarding registration is how long it takes to register a Trademark in Indonesia. As a consultant, in my years of practicing and registering Trademarks, I cannot provide a definite time frame. Generally, the trademark registration process in Indonesia take 2 (two) to 3 (three) years. In fact, some brands can take up to 4 (four) years until the certificate is issued. If were to argue that this could disrupt the flow of the business world, I would say “Yes.. I agree”, however keep in mind that DITJEN KI must still be careful in providing Trademark protection/certificate. This needs to be considered so as not to cause disputes in the future.

In assisting with the Intellectual Property registration process, the Betlehn Law Office is here to be a solution for entrepreneurs or Trademark owners in protecting their Intellectual Property assets. We will be present as professional consultants providing advice so that Intellectual Property owners may make better use of their time for developing other aspects of their business.

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