Trademark and brand are often confused concepts in Vietnamese society, in which brand is the more popular keyword in the community. However, these two concepts have certain differences and, thereby, cannot be legally equated. However, both trademarks and brands have certain effects in business, the development of enterprises.
The biggest contributing factor of trademark and brand is the glossiness, increasing the recognition for businesses, individuals and organizations registering the trademark and owning the brand in business.
So, what is the contribution of the trademark and brand in the development of the business?
Trademarks are an important tool to identify and differentiate a company’s products or services from those of competitors in the market. It plays an important role in building a brand’s reputation and attracting customers.
From a legal perspective, trademark is the only term specified in the Law on Intellectual Property of Vietnam without any provisions on brand, even in the new update and amendment in 2022.
Thereby, a trademark is a legal element that needs to be registered and owned by an individual or organization to distinguish its goods, products and services from those of another party. A strong and good trademark represents the registrant’s nature, built over time helps to build customer trust and confidence.
When there are trademarks, brands of individuals and organizations will be strongly developed because the consumer as well as the customer community have the assurance of the reputation of individuals and organizations that have registered the trademark to a certain extent. Thereby, many parties will choose to cooperate with an individual or organization with a trademark over an individual or organization with no reputation and no guarantee.
Therefore, trademarks plays an important role in creating economic value and building a company’s reputation.
Branding (aka brand) is an important part of building a successful business. A company’s brand is the values, memories, and images that customers come up with when they think of that company.
Thereby, if it is forced to compare between a trademark and a brand, the trademark is the appearance, the bones, flesh and blood that make up the structure of an enterprise, with a clear legal basis and attributes. In contrast, a brand can be understood as the soul part of a body, invisible to the naked eye and more categorical than a trademark.
Both brand and trademark are important. However, each business, depends on the purpose as well as the economic situation, and other factors, will determine which values are more important in the development of the business.
For example, if economic resources are still difficult, businesses can consider temporarily not registering trademarks, but focus on promoting development, imprinting the brand in customers’ minds through better service style, more efficient, more unique.
Since Vietnam is a country that follows the principle of first filing, sooner or later, the applicant is required to register a trademark to ensure that it is not registered by other parties first and thereby, conducting brand theft.
A prominent example of this consequence can be seen in the recent brand and trademark dispute of Pho Thin in Vietnam when the disputing parties were arguing over the rights to the Pho Thin brand name, despite the fact from a legal point of view, both parties did not have a successful trademark registration of Pho Thin trademark. Instead, it was registered early by another small traditional cuisine shop.
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