Strong / Weak Trademarks in Taiwan

We often have to consider what types of trademark best represent our businesses or brands when designing one. Nonetheless, we must also take into account factors which make the trademark “strong” or “weak” so that the design clearly resembles the goods and services sold or provided by the business. From a customer’s perspective, this helps promote the business’s image and brand identity.

“Strong trademarks”, as the name suggests, are those with unique traits and characteristics, such as original designs of images, texts, etc. By giving the said components new meanings, customers can easily recognise businesses being represented by strong trademarks.

On the other hand, a weak trademark uses a variation of an existing design or text, or a combination of generic fonts. This makes it difficult for customers to identify which enterprise a weak trademark points to. Some weak trademarks even contain words related to the goods or services of the enterprises, and thus, are highly similar to other trademarks. Therefore, they have to declare that they are “not for exclusive use” – as the trademarks contain well-known, generic and common words or languages, granting exclusive rights to these trademarks would be inappropriate as it would create uncertainty as to the scopes of the rights. That’s said, it is still possible for enterprises to obtain rights to weak trademarks using their own influences.

As seen from the above, when designing a trademark, not only must an enterprise consider what makes the trademark attractive, but also what makes them “weak” or “strong”. Only by doing so could an enterprise have a clear corporate image and succeed in applying for trademark registrations.

When inspiration emerges, you may refer to the identification and review benchmark issued by the Intelligence Bureau to avoid receiving notices of refusal from the Bureau. Alternatively, you may seek help from professional agents. With comprehensive trademark application experience, they can help you identify the “strong” and “weak” aspects of your idea, and provide you with useful advice to help you transform your weak trademark into a strong one meeting the standard of a registrable trademark.

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