What is a Trademark?

A Trademark constitute any sign that individualizes the goods of a given enterprise and capable of distinguishing such goods from the goods of competitors. Thus a trade marks should:

  1. Individualize a product by indication of source to the satisfaction of the consumer, and
  2. Clearly distinguish the goods of one enterprise from those of other enterprises.

A Device Mark is a sign used to distinguish between the different services such as security companies, insurance brokers, employment agents, cleaning companies, funeral undertakers, etc. The provisions of Service Marks apply Mutatis Mutandis to those of service marks on registration, renewal, cancellation, assignment and licensing, etc.

Collective and certification marks are marks used to indicate the affiliation of enterprises using the mark or which refer to identifiable standards met by a product with which a mark is used. A collective mark usually belongs to an organization or an association with its membership entitled to use such a mark while the association itself is entrusted with quality and standard control. The collective mark serves to inform the public particular features of the product used in connection with a given mark and could therefore be instrumental in the protection of consumers against misleading practices. The certification marks are used only in connection with defined standards. The difference between the certification mark and the collective mark is that the collective mark is used by a particular enterprise or members of the association while a certification mark may be used by anybody who meets the defined standards.

Trade names are generally names, terms or designations specifically designed to identify and distinguish enterprises and its business ventures from those of other enterprises.

Geographical indications are expressions signs indicating the origin of the product or service. The origin indicated under geographical indications will always refer to a country, region or specific place.

Geographic indications are commercial designations comprising:

  1. indications of source, and
  2. appellations of origin.

Indication of source comprise denominations expressions or signs indicating origin of a service or product with reference to a country, region or a specific place (village, etc.).

An appellation of origin in addition to indications of a country, region or specific place will also include the characteristic of qualities attributed to geographic environment and other natural and human factors associated with a particular product and service.


The following expressions, denominations or signs may constitute a trademark.

"Words" include company names, surnames, forenames, geographic names or any other words or set of words
"Letters and Numerals" these include one or more letters or numerals or combination thereof.
"Devices" These include fancy devices, drawings and symbols.
"Coloured Marks" These include words, devices and any combination there of in colour.
"Audible Signs" These include sounds transcribed in musical notes or other symbols. e.g. The cry of a cow.
"Olfactory Marks" These are marks associated with a certain fragrance for recognizing the goods by a smell.
"Invisible Signs" Examples of invisible signs are those that can be recognised by touch ie a sun ray or moon, etc.
"Three Dimensional Signs" These are marks indicating the shape of goods or their packaging.