“Should you trademark your business?” is a question all business owners could relate when starting a business in Indonesia. The answer may vary from individual to individual in general. Business owners will benefit from trademark registration when doing business in the archipelago. Why? Because it is an invaluable asset. It will protect your business and its intellectual property (IP) for the long run.
Businesses with the same name can get along well until the trademark game begins. Let’s take a case with IKEA—the Swedish furniture giant—who lost the trademark dispute to PT Ratania Khatulistiwa, an Indonesian rattan furniture with its IKEA trademark registered in December 2013. IKEA is an acronym for Intan Khatulistiwa Esa Abadi, the name of the rattan company’s founder.
Even though IKEA has registered its trademark twice in 2006 and 2010, the Supreme Court still ruled against them on the decision. The reason: IKEA had not actively used its trademark for commercial purposes for three consecutive years.
New businesses are appearing in the Indonesian market at unprecedented rates, and the new 2016 Trademark Law has effectively lowered the bar to trademark registration to facilitate the market entry. Although registering your trademark might be easy, it may now seem tricky enough to make your business lose your brands.
Here are the 5 most common trademark registration mistakes that your business should avoid at all cost.
1. Wait till the last minute.
Late registration of one’s trademark is such a commonplace practice as most business owners are unsure of the right timing. “As soon as possible” is what a business should do once the business is up and running. As in Indonesia, trademark registration uses a “first-come-first-served” basis, the first applicant will get the trademark. So if you come to the second, your unique trademark may have already been “hijacked”.
2. Not doing your homework.
The importance of researching the market, understanding the trademark laws, and investigating the background of similar trademark cannot be over-emphasized for your business in Indonesia. You might be on the wrong side of the law by unintentionally using others’ business trademarks.
3. Being unreasonably budget-conscious.
We understand that budget control is one of the major aspects of any business operation. And it’s undeniable that trademark registration could sometimes be both time-consuming and cost-intensive. However, trademark is the way, if not the only way, to protect your business asset and capitalize on the forces of globalization. Rather than seeing trademark as an expense, let’s think outside the box and see it as an investment for your business’s long-term growth and prosperity.
4. Presuming your brand is highly celebrated locally.
Swedish IKEA furniture giant losing its brand to a local business in Indonesia is one classic case. Well-established foreign businesses would think their popular brand names would do the job itself without using their trademark in Indonesia. This is totally misleading and your pre-assumption of “popular brand speaks for itself” might cost you your brand and reputation altogether—use it or lose it.
5. Giving away too much secret sauce.
Many business owners, especially SMEs, do not realize what constitutes as a trade secret or confidentiality. Business owners therefore sometimes disclose too much of their business information, such as customer profiles, distribution channels, marketing strategy, and sales performance. By spilling the beans, companies may lose their competitive edge once their “secret sauce” is out and trademarked by the competitor.
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