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Need a bodyguard? These days it feels like our companies need a 7-foot, muscle-clad personal security officer to shield us from the myriad of incoming bombs from all directions. It’s not easy to completely anticipate what attacks may come our way. When it comes to guarding your company’s trademark, no cursory measures will do.
And in today’s rapidly evolving e-commerce climate, it’s no surprise how the Financial Technology (the “Fintech”) market has shown a considerable amount growth, especially in Indonesia. As of December 2018, the Financial Services Authority (the “OJK”) published a total 88 Fintech companies who have been registered in Indonesia. It is expected that the number will continuously grow since many Fintech companies are still in the process of obtaining mandatory licensing from OJK in order to operate its platform. The Fintech market still seems promising since the adoption of Fintech services is still very low in Indonesia. Based on the Ernst and Young Fintech adoption survey from 2017, the adoption rate of Fintech is still under 10% compared to India (above 50%) and China (69%). With this in mind, many predict the prospect of Fintech investment, mainly in the form of foreign investment, will massively flow into Indonesia in the coming years, especially in 2019.
A Fintech company usually possesses a distinctive platform name and logo that represents their brand. If a Fintech company is seeking to establish a brand, it is critical to secure the proper intellectual property safeguard. According to Law No. 20 of 2016 (the “Trademark Law”), a trademark is defined as graphically distinguishable sign that is used in the trade of goods and/or services in order to indicate the source and origin of the goods and/or services. The trademark must contain a picture, a name, a word, letter(s), number(s), figure(s), a composition of colors, or a two-dimensional and/or a three-dimensional representation, a sound, a hologram, or a combination of these elements. A trademark registration describes an acknowledgement from the government of Indonesia to legally operate your Fintech business under your platform name. In fact, a trademark is one of the main essential items in the Registration License process. Based on an information we gathered from OJK, a Fintech company must have already applied for a trademark registration in Indonesia prior the Registration License submission. The receipt from trademark application must be submitted along with other required documents.
Indonesia adopts the “First to File’ system to determine trademark rights, meaning that if there is dispute between your company and another party over a trademark, whoever filed for registration first will generally have superior rights, regardless of who developed or first used the mark. Having explained that, filing a trademark application to the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights Office in Indonesia immediately is crucial to secure your platform name. Once the trademark certificate is issued, you can exclusively use your platform name as the brand for your financial products for a certain period of time.
But how long will it take to put this protection measure in place? The length of the process to obtain registration a trademark varies. Assuming that the application process runs smoothly, we can expect the trademark to be registered within approximately four to six months after the submission of application. Yet, there are circumstances under which a trademark may be challenged, cancelled, or removed. If there are any objections from any third party claiming the trademark, the process will be extended.
After the process is successful, how long is your precious symbol secured for? A trademark registration is valid for ten years from the original filing date. A renewal application can be submitted within six months prior to the expiration date. Your trademark will be automatically withdrawn if you fail to obtain a renewal within the prescribed period. As the proprietor of a registered trademark, you may file a lawsuit against any third party who is using your registered trademark. You may also pursue criminal charges for any infringement of the registered trademark. If the mark is similar in the basic elements, the infringer is subject to penalties including fines up to IDR 2 billion or imprisonment for up to five years.
No doubt, a trademark represents the face of your business. Protection of your trademark is unquestionably crucial for your business existence. Without it, your competitors or any bad faith 3rd party may easily utilize or even exploit your unregistered trademark for their interests which can hamper your business. At Schinder Law Firm, we provide our clients with trademark registration service. Please contact our office should you require further details and assistance on trademark registration for your platform name. Let us be sure your intimidating bodyguard is armed and in place.About the author:
is an associate at Schinder Law Firm. His practice focus is corporate commercial, with key industry focus of financial technology. He has advised international clients in the establishment of foreign direct investment fintech companies, acquiring business licenses and permits (including liaising with OJK, the Indonesian Financial Services Authority), as well as registering brand trademarks.