Here in the United States, when you trademark a business you are protecting a company’s name and establishing a corporate identity. You are separating yourself from the herd.
And since you own the rights to your trademark, no one else can use it.
The legal system in the United States and Europe has pretty much hammered out the question of how to trademark a business. They’ve established rules and regulations. They’ve initiated and instituted some pretty serious repercussions when a person or a corporate identity tries to illegally use another’s trademark.
However, if you were to take a look at what is happening as far as trademarks go in certain third world countries your eyes might just open wide as your jaw drops to the ground and you scratch your head in amazement.
Let’s take a look at what most people would consider to be blatant trademark infringements in Addis, Ethiopia.
As soon as you disembark from your plane at Bole Airport you can see a huge “Mariot” Hotel down the road.
However, although the logo looks the same, the owner of this establishment dropped the second “t” and the second “r” from the name. The logic is presumably that, at least for the time being, they’ll be safe from a lawsuit.
If you’re hungry when you’re strolling down the streets of Addis you might want to stop into Olives Garden Restaurant & Lounge. When you look at the sign that hangs above the entrance you’ll see an amazing replica of the stateside Olive Garden restaurant signage, right down to the logo.
But what if you are hungry and want a hamburger? If you’re in Addis Abba you might want to stop into the Burger Queen. Although you won’t find a Whopper inside you will find a sign outside that bears a striking resemblance to Burger King’s familiar split bun.
And if you are craving a latte and go inside Kaldi’s you’re going to blink your eyes and do a double take. That’s because everything from the paint on the wall to the uniforms that the baristas are wearing are virtual copies of what you’ll find in any Starbucks’ coffee shop in the United States.
While it may be questionable as to whether it’s a major concern of yours that someone in Ethiopia is capitalizing on your company’s good name, you certainly wouldn’t want that to happen here in the United States. And that’s especially true when there are companies on the Internet that can take care of all of the hard work that you would otherwise need to do to trademark a business.