If you’re a company looking to do business in Taiwan and you don’t yet have a trademark for this specific country, then it’s important you look at registering a Taiwan trademark. Here we’ll detail what we consider to be seven of the most important reasons you should obtain a trademark in Taiwan for your business, and the many ways it will benefit you.
1. Protection from trademark squatters
Many businesses in Chinese speaking countries such as Taiwan, China and Hong Kong have ended up being held to ransom by Chinese cybersquatters. These are people who go out of their way to find companies that don’t currently have a trademark and register their company name or distinguishing feature from under their nose.
Once they’ve achieved this, they can hold your company to ransom and ask for huge sums of money to sell the trademark back to you. Once this happens, your only course of action is legal litigation that’s extremely expensive and doesn’t have a great success rate.
These trademark squatters constantly scour news sites, press releases and social networks on the hunt to find companies without trademarks. As almost all companies drum up business through the use of the above mediums, those who don’t file to register trademarks in Taiwan are putting themselves in harm’s way.
2. Taiwan trademarks are ‘first to file’ not ‘first to use’
Some countries provide a certain level of protection for companies with the ‘first to use’ rule regarding trademarks. This means they confer rights on the owner of a distinctive mark like a company name or logo, provided that it’s unique and not currently trademarked. Although this is in no way robust protection, it does help when companies are caught in a jam.
But in Taiwan there is no such protection to help you. Taiwan operates on a ‘first to file’ basis, which means that regardless of how long you’ve been using a distinguishing mark, and even if it’s the most distinct and unique name imaginable, someone else can come along and register it anytime they want, hence the legions of trademark squatters we mentioned above.
When you need a trademark in a country that’s ‘first to file’, you’d better be first off the mark, or you may end in big trouble.
3. It protects against costly future legal fees
We’ve already discussed the trademark squatters who are out to make a buck off your business, but there are many other reasons why your company may encounter difficulties down the line if you haven’t registered a Taiwan trademark.
You may have done a trademark search and found that your name or brand wasn’t currently being used and thought you’d be on the safe side. But this alone is inadequate as your name or branding may unwittingly be treading on another company’s toes in ways you haven’t foreseen. If a company thinks you’re causing brand confusion or are overlapping on their intellectual property and launches legal action against you, you need a robust trademark in your corner. Without this, you’re essentially a rudderless ship in the trademark sea, and your company is likely to suffer damage and costly fees that may be hard to come back from.
4. Trademarks takes months to process
This is not something that’s exclusive to Taiwan. Wherever you register a trademark, you’re looking at numerous months before you’re granted rights providing there are no problems. In Taiwan, the process typically takes 8-10 months.
No matter when you apply to register a trademark, it’s probably going to take around 8-10 months. So putting off registering a trademark for a rainy day is a bad idea, as they day may come much sooner than you envisage, and you don’t want to be caught short needing to wait another 10 months to get the protection you need.
5. A Taiwan trademark gives you freedom
Taiwan as a country isn’t the largest on the map, but it’s home to over 23 million people – almost the same number as Australia. Securing your trademark here provides you the protection and freedom to conduct your business among a huge number of people, without the worry or fear that someone can easily come along and tear down everything you’ve put blood, sweat and tears into building. This means you can concentrate on expanding your business and increasing your profits and you look forward into the future, rather than nervously looking behind you to see if cyber squatters or other companies could cripple your work.
6. Registering a Taiwan trademark needn’t be difficult
If you want to obtain a trademark in Taiwan, it doesn’t need to be difficult at all. In fact, it can be quite simple. But there is a caveat. Without the specific country knowledge, competent levels of Mandarin, and a good grasp of Taiwan’s legal system, it’s not easy. We’ve written a comprehensive do-it-yourself guide on registering a trademark on Taiwan, for those willing to undertake the task themselves, but be prepared for some legwork all the same.
Another, much easier and simpler way to go about registering a Taiwan trademark is to use the services of a company that’s skilled in Taiwan trademarks for overseas companies, with expert knowledge on local laws, native fluency in Mandarin to make it all run smoothly, and a fine grasp of the English language so they can effectively chat with you about the entire process and ensure you’re satisfied.
Here at MUSA Trademark, we’re one such company who does exactly that, and we’d be more than happy to assist you in obtaining the trademark you need in Taiwan. If you’d like to have a chat about that, click below to contact us and we can talk to you about your business needs.