A registered trademark protects a brand name/logo from infringement by third parties in the countries where it's registered. The standard validity period is 10 years, after which the trademark can be renewed an unlimited number of times.
Protecting from infringement means others are not only prevented from copying the elements of the trademark but also using elements that give out a "similar impression". That's because the purpose of a trademark is to signal a single identifiable source of goods and services to the customer. Simply put, a registered trademark protects a brand from competitors trying to profit off the customer goodwill and recognizability the brand has built over time.
Practically speaking, a registered trademark gives its owner legal grounds on which infringement can be prevented or stopped, including:
- using the ® symbol with the name/logo, which the trademark owner is only legally permitted to do after successful registration, serves as a signal to potential copycats that the business owners are not afraid to legally protect their operations and take necessary steps to enforce their rights.
- having the right to challenge trademark applicants trying to register a similar trademark with the same intellectual property office. This act is called raising an opposition, and there's a set window of time for it in the registration process.
- the right to report the infringement on certain platforms, such as Amazon.
- the right to issue cease and desist letters.