Part of how any company moves from startup to growing and thriving is to create a recognizable brand under which it operates. The brand provides a way to distinguish yourself with customers, and it all begins with images that you use to represent yourself–and no one else–to the world. To prevent others from using the same or similar images, though, you need to obtain trademark protection. A trademark is a kind of intellectual property protection that lets you defend your marketing ground against others who want to benefit from your symbols and imagery.
Obtaining a Trademark in Israel
Israel is a member of the Madrid Protocol, which currently includes 97 members, covering 113 countries. These members represent more than 80% of world trade, with potential for expansion as membership grows. This membership contributes to Israel’s tradition of supporting business investment. Companies want to protect their branding and intellectual property, and registering for legal protection recognized throughout the world helps achieve this by allowing filings from far beyond the country’s borders. Indeed, in 2014, out of 23,018 trademark applications in Israel, 13,659 came from abroad. Another 6,982 were filed by non-residents.
The process of obtaining a trademark can be time-consuming. Once you file a trademark application, the waiting period before your application is examined lasts 18 to 24 months. Once the trademark is granted, your protection extends for 10 years. At the 10-year anniversary, you must then file a renewal application for each 10-year period afterward. The protection includes the exclusive ability to transfer or modify the mark as well.
Enforcing Your Trademark
Trademark protection, even though filing occurs through an international system, exists solely within Israeli borders. Different methods allow you to act to defend your trademark if it appears someone else is using it for their own purposes. One option is to file a civil enforcement action in court. You can seek a temporary injunction order to force the other person or company to stop using the mark, and if you prevail, you may be entitled to both a permanent injunction and monetary damages.
In addition, Israeli Customs has jurisdiction over imported goods that use your mark. Finally, trademark infringement constitutes a criminal offense; the Israeli Police contains an IP division that prosecutes knowing violations of trademarks.
Israel has a long tradition of supporting businesses and helping protect intellectual property. Barnea will help you through the trademark registration process as well as enforcement proceedings to protect what is yours.