What is House Mark? Explain what it relates to trademark registration!

What is house mark?

I hear the term “house mark” but I don’t know what kind of mark it refers to. Does it have anything to do with a trademark?
A house mark, also known as a “corporate mark,” is a mark used as a business sign. Examples include the company name, company logo, and company emblem. In using a house mark as a business sign, there is a close relationship between the house mark and the trademark.

This article explains the house mark and its relationship to the trademark.

目次 Index
    1. What is house mark?
  1. Overview and Examples of House Marks
  2. Difference between house mark and product mark
  3. Role of house mark
    1. Points to keep in mind when using house mark
  4. Do I need to register my house mark as trademark?
    1. Treatment of identical or similar company names under the Companies Act
    2. Treatment of identical or similar company names under the Unfair Competition Prevention Law
    3. Protection as registered trademark
  5. Summary

Overview and Examples of House Marks

A house mark is a mark (emblem) used as a business sign. By marking a house mark as a landmark, consumers and users can recognize that the goods or services are those of the same company. Therefore, house marks play an important role in a company’s sales activities.

Specific examples of house marks include in logotype (characters),”TOYOTA” of Toyota Motor Corporation, “SONY” of Sony Corporation, and “SUNTORY” of Suntory Holdings Limited, etc. and in logomark (graphic), the three ovals of Toyota Motor Corporation and the design of the holy beast Kirin (Kirin Mark) of Kirin Holdings Company, and others.

Difference between house mark and product mark

While a house mark is used as a business sign, a product mark is used to indicate the product or service itself.

Product marks are subdivided into family names and pet names. Please refer to the following article for detailed information on product marks.

https://amazing.dx.harakenzo.com/guide/petmark/

Role of house mark

A house mark is often represented as a logo using a company name or a graphic, and serves as a landmark for selection when purchasing a product or visiting a store. Because they are often seen by consumers, house marks may help increase name recognition.

Points to keep in mind when using house mark

Continued use of the house mark on products and services will accumulate trust in the house mark. The accumulation of trust also increases the risk that the house mark will be imitated or misused by others. Imitation or misuse of the house mark may damage the credibility of the house mark.

The following is an explanation of what actions can be taken to maintain the goodwill of the house mark in the event of imitation or misuse.

Do I need to register my house mark as trademark?

You may think that when a house mark is the same as a company name, it is protected because the company name is registered as a trade name.

In conclusion, even if the house mark and the company name are the same, it is difficult to completely protect the house mark only by registering the company name. Therefore, from the perspective of securing use and preventing imitation, it is recommended to register the house mark as a trademark to obtain trademark rights.

Treatment of identical or similar company names under the Companies Act

With the enforcement of the Companies Act in May 2006, companies with identical or similar trade names can be established in the same city, town, or village, as long as the location of the head office is different. However, the Companies Act prohibits the use of the same or similar trade name if there is a risk that the name may be misidentified as that of another company for fraudulent purposes.

Treatment of identical or similar company names under the Unfair Competition Prevention Law

The Unfair Competition Prevention Law defines as unfair competition an act that causes confusion with the products or business of others by using the same or similar product or service mark that is widely recognized.

The Unfair Competition Prevention Law protects only widely recognized trade indications, and since it is necessary to prove that a product is widely recognized in order to apply the law, the hurdle to apply the law is much higher than one might imagine.

Protection as registered trademark

By registering your house mark as a trademark within the scope of the goods or services for which it is used, you can use it exclusively within that scope, and you can demand an injunction or compensation for damages from others who imitate or misuse it.

The Trademark Law also provides for the right of prior use, but it should be noted that the right of prior use requires that the house mark be widely recognized by consumers, so if someone else has preempted your house mark, you may not be able to use it.

I understand the house mark better now. I guess I should register the house mark as a trademark. I’ll consider it ASAP!

Summary

We hope you now have a better understanding of what a house mark is and its role and importance. Please take this opportunity to consider registering your house mark as a trademark.

For your branding, a trademark application is very important.

Let’s sign up and search for the trademark which would be obtained safely.

supervisor
Supervisor for the article:
HARAKENZO WORLD PATENT & TRADEMARK
大阪法務戦略部長 八谷 晃典
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