What are Trademarks?
The World Intellectual Property Organisation defines a trademark as a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Trademarks are protected by intellectual property rights. A trademark identifies the brand owner of a particular product or service, and can be used by others under licensing agreements. A trademark is typically a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements. There is also a range of non-conventional trademarks comprising marks which do not fall into these standard categories, such as those based on colour, smell, or sound (for example jingles).
A trademark can be registered if it is able to distinguish the goods or services of a party, will not confuse consumers about the relationship between one party and another, and will not otherwise deceive consumers with respect to the qualities. It must be distinctive and non-deceptive.
The two symbols associated with trademarks, ™ (trademark symbol) and ® (registered trademark symbol), represent the status of a mark and accordingly its level of protection. While ™ can be used with any common law usage of a mark, ® may only be used by the owner of a mark following registration with the relevant national authority.
Benefits of Trademarks
- The owner of a registered trademark has exclusives right over the trademark, and can use the same trademark for all the products falling under the class(es) applied. Further, the owner can stop others from using the trademark under the same class where it is registered.
- Competitors cannot use the trademark, and the owner can get the legal protection under the Trademark Act and stop any infringement.
- The trademark gives recognition to the quality of the product. Customers attach the product’s quality with the brand name and this image is created in the market about the quality of a particular brand. This helps in attracting new customers as they can differentiate the quality of a product by the trademark.
The UWI Marks
The University has registered the following trademarks in Trinidad and Tobago:
- The University of the West Indies
- UWI St Augustine Campus
- The UWI Alumni Association
- UWI Press (name and logo)
- UWI TV
- The UWI crest device (coat of arms)
- A Light Rising from the West
Ownership of The UWI Marks
Ownership of The UWI marks is vested in the University. According to The UWI Policy on Intellectual Property Management and Commercialisation, anyone from the University who wishes to design or create a new trade mark, or to register a trade mark on behalf of the University or for a University- related project, must make a written submission with respect to the proposed trade mark to the University Registrar or designee. The University Registrar or nominee will determine whether or not to approve the mark as a UWI mark, and if the mark should be registered.
Authorisation Required to Use The UWI marks
- Authorisation must be obtained before producing or arranging for the production of any product or the offering of any service involving the use of a UWI mark.
- For non-commercial use of The UWI marks, prior written permission must be obtained from the University Registrar or designee.
- A licence is required for the use of The UWI marks on products that are manufactured for resale or other commercial purpose.
- The University Registrar has the responsibility for licensing The UWI marks where the use of the marks relates to the University as a whole.
- Authorisation to use a UWI mark does not constitute approval to manufacture a particular product. Only an Officially Licensed Manufacturer may manufacture products bearing a UWI mark and only an Officially Licensed Vendor may sell products bearing The UWI marks.
Where the authorisation relates to the use of the name of the University and/or the University Coat of Arms, such use must conform to the standards prescribed in the Brand Identity Guidelines available at:
https://sta.uwi.edu/resources/policies/uwistylemanual.pdf and to any other guidelines that may be issued by the University Registrar from time to time.