WIPO Publishes Guide to Trademarks for Business

Geneva, September 17, 2003
Press Updates UPD/2003/203

Entrepreneurs and managers of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can now consult a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) publication that explains the basics of trademarks from a business perspective. The guide, entitled "Making a Mark: An Introduction to Trademarks for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises", is intended to enhance the reader's understanding of the strategic value of trademarks in business planning. It is the first in a series of new WIPO guides on the theme "Intellectual Property for Business."

In a competitive business environment, trademarks are crucial for distinguishing the products of one enterprise from those of others. Trademarks helps consumers identify and purchase a product or service by symbolizing a certain nature or quality of the product. Trademark registration provides protection to the owner by ensuring the exclusive right to use it or to authorize another to use it in return for payment. The period of protection is generally 10 years, but a trademark can be renewed indefinitely upon payment of renewal fees.

Trademarks can serve a multitude of valuable business and marketing functions. These include encouraging customer loyalty, expanding and maintaining market share, gaining royalties through licensing programs and providing the foundation for franchises. Trademark protection hinders moves by unfair competitors to "free ride" on the goodwill of a company by using similar distinctive signs to market inferior or similar products or services. Conversely, loss, dilution or infringement of a high value trademark could prove devastating to a business.

The new series of guides on "Intellectual Property for Business", will cover a range of intellectual property issues of relevance to small and medium-sized enterprises, including industrial designs, patents, patent information, copyright and related rights, trade secrets, licensing, and valuation of intellectual property. The other guides are expected to be launched in early 2004.

While the guides are mainly aimed at entrepreneurs and SME managers, they are equally useful for policy-makers, students, researchers, employees or any other individuals interested in the basics of the intellectual property system from a business perspective. They will be initially available in English, but will also be published in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

"Making a Mark: An Introduction to Trademarks for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises" can be downloaded from WIPO's SME website or may be obtained by writing to publications.mail@wipo.int. For more information on IP for SMEs visit https://www.wipo.int/sme and subscribe to the free monthly electronic newsletter of the SMEs Division or contact the Media Relations and Public Affairs Section at WIPO: Tel: + 41 22 338 8161 or 9547; e-mail: publicinf@wipo.int