Monday, 19 July 2010

Colombia: Register your trade mark, do not lose your business!

Todays headline refers to the slogan that the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) has been using to promote the registration of trade marks. The campaign is directed to small businesses and entrepreneurs and it has been running since early this year. Basically the campaign not only encourages businesses to protect their trade marks and thus making them aware to the benefits of registering the mark and the risks involved if they do not do so, but also offers special discount of 25 percent for the registration of its mark – adding a 5% discount if the registration of the mark is made online.

The SIC webpage announces that due to the positive impact of the campaign and at the request of the chambers of commerce, the SIC extended the deadline until 31 December.

The SIC together with Chambers of Commerce, the mayor of Bogota and ACOPI, has trained over 400 entrepreneurs in the second quarter of this year. The main target is clarification between registering a business in the chambers of commerce and registering a trade mark at the SIC. While registering a business will demonstrate publicly the owner as a trader and its type of business, it does not protect its trade mark. The note continues to said that “if your trade mark is not recorded at the SIC, it does not exist”.

While I can pass judgement on this last sentence by saying that a trade mark which is not registered can still be protected under unfair competition laws (I cannot said that it is as easy and smooth process; on the contrary, it is a long, costly and tedious one) the campaign is a truthful one. Small businesses need to be aware that by just registering their businesses with a chosen trade name, it is not the same as registering and protecting a trade mark. For that reason, I can see that the campaign tries to illustrate entrepreneurs in a logical manner. That said, I cannot disapprove of the movement but on the contrary, praise it.

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