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November 17, 2014

"Arielle Law Corporation is proud to announce that it is the winner of the INTL Legal Awards for Boutique Contract Law Firm of the Year in Singapore.  We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all our clients for their support, and we look forward to being of further assistance to our clients now and in the future."
- Koh C-u Pinn, Arielle Law Corporation

Frequently Asked Questions on Trademark Registration


Do I need trademark registration?

Your business name or logo distinguishes your product or service from those of another business. By registering for a trademark, you prevent your industry competitors from using names or logos that are confusingly similar to yours. Consider a trademark as an investment into your brand.

What can I register as a trademark?

Most businesses register their logo and business names as trademarks. Generally, registration for trademarks works on a first-come-first-serve basis. Thus, if someone has registered a mark that is confusingly similar to yours before you, your application for a trademark will be rejected. The name or logo submitted for trademark registration should not be a generic word that is used in everyday language. It also should not be purely descriptive. 

How do I register for a trademark?

In Singapore, a trademark is registered with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). Typically, a lawyer or a trademark agent is engaged to deal with the entire registration process due to its technicality.

How much does the registration process cost?

IPOS charges $341 for registering a trademark for each class of products or services. Businesses register trademarks for the class(es) of products or services that they will use the trademark in. Lawyers and trademark agents will incur additional charges. IMPORTANT: Fees for trademark registration are PIC-claimable, so it may not cost much to register a trademark.

What can I do when someone infringes on my registered trademark?


You can apply to court for an injunction that stops other businesses from infringing on your registered trademark. This can be a relatively quick process and is in addition to your right to claim for damages. 

If your mark is not registered, you will not be able to rely on the Trade Marks Act (Cap. 332) and your claim for damages will be under the common law tort of passing off which is more complex and difficult to prove.

 

What Businesses Need to Know About Data Protection (Part 2)


In Part 1, we discussed whether your business possesses personal data. In Part 2, we explain the legal obligations in protecting personal data and suggest practical ways of implementation at the end.

 

9 Key Obligations in Protecting Personal Data 


Obtaining Consent for Personal Data:
  • Businesses have to obtain the consent of the individual for the purposes that they collect, use and disclose personal data.
  • Businesses must not, as a condition of providing the product or service, require the individual to consent to the collection, use or disclosure of his personal data beyond what is reasonably required to provide the product or service.
  • For example, a popular practice in the past has been to conduct lucky draws to obtain personal data for other marketing purposes. There are now specific guidelines to follow in informing the participant of the lucky draw what his information will be used for.
Consent
  • Consent, even after being obtained, may be withdrawn upon giving reasonable notice.
Purpose for collecting, using or disclosing personal data
  • The purpose for collecting, using or disclosing the personal data must be what a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances, and notified to the individual concerned.
 
Access to and Correction of Personal Data
  • Upon request, an organisation must let an individual know how his personal data has been used or disclosed during the past year. Upon request, it also has to correct an error or omission in the personal data.
Ensuring accuracy of Personal Data
  • The business has to make reasonable effort to ensure that personal data is accurate and complete. For example, a bank undertaking a new transaction for an existing client should take measures to ensure that the personal data is up to date.
Protection of Personal Data in possession or under control
  • A business has to make reasonable security arrangements to protect personal data in its possession or under its control. Examples of administrative measures include having confidentiality clauses in employment agreements, and on a technical level restricting access to personal data.
Retention of Personal Data
  • Stop retention of personal data when it is reasonable to assume that the purpose for which it was collected is no longer being served, and that it is no longer needed for legitimate legal or business purposes.
  • On the other hand, as an example, a dance school that uses personal data for the maintenance of an alumni network would have a valid purpose for the retention of personal data.
Restrictions on Transfer of Personal Data (outside Singapore)
  • In this age of global outsourcing, it is sometimes necessary to transfer personal data overseas for operational needs.
  • Generally, businesses must not transfer personal data outside Singapore unless they can ensure a similar level of personal data protection as under the Personal Data Protection Act. This can be achieved through contract or through corporate rules.
  • Otherwise, the consent of the individuals may be needed for the transfer of data. The consent is deemed to be given if it is necessary for the performance of the contract between the business and the individual, for example where the business is a travel agency and needs to send a customer’s information to a hotel overseas for a reservation.
Transparency of personal data policies and procedures
  • Designate an individual responsible for the business’ compliance with the PDPA. Although this individual is the contact point for personal data protection matters, the overall legal responsibility remains with the business.
  • Implement policies and procedures to comply with PDPA and to make information about its policies and procedures publicly available. 

Implementation of Personal Data Policies


Appoint a Data Protection Officer

In practice, appoint a Data Protection Officer and make his contact details easily accessible to the public. This is to ensure that individuals know who to approach if they have questions about their personal data.

Know the Personal Data

Do an inventory of the personal data in your possession. Find out how you are using that data.

Implementing Data Protection Processes

Review the data protection practices within your organization to ensure that they are compliant with the PDPA. These are some example guidelines:

For collection, use and disclosure of personal data:
  • How is personal data being collected? Has there been consent? How do you record the consent to collection?
  • Make your personal data protection policies and contact information of your Data Protection Officer available to the public.
  • Do you have a system in place for allowing individuals to withdraw consent at any time upon giving reasonable notice?
For retention and transfer of Personal Data:
  • Do you have set timelines where you review personal data and remove data that is no longer required for business or legal purposes?
  • Do you ensure there is a process for personal data protection if the data is transferred overseas?
For access & correction of Personal Data:
  • Do you have information to tell users how they may request to access or correct their personal data with your organization?
  • Do you have clear practices for assessing and processing access and correction requests?
This summary presents an overview of the legal obligations of handling personal data. Contact us to find out about the specific personal data policies that you should implement for your industry and your business.  
Koh C-u Pinn is a director at Arielle Law Corporation, a boutique law firm that provides individualized services tailored specifically to your needs. 

Simply email us at ask@ariellelaw.com, or give us a call at (+65) 6818-9785 to chat with us about your needs. We are always happy to discuss what works best for you, whether over email, the phone, or a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
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