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A Guide To Registering A Trademark For A UK Business

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Registering a trademark protects your business identity by giving you legal ownership of things that represent your company – like logos, taglines or product names. It prevents others from using them and confusing customers. Securing a trademark in the UK involves a few key steps:

  • Evaluating if your desired name, logo or slogan is eligible for a registered trademark. Unique, distinctive options tend to qualify best.
  • Searching the UK Intellectual Property Office database to see if your wording or design is already taken by another business in your industry.
  • Filing an application detailing the verbal/visual elements you want protected and the products/services they are associated with.
  • Going through examination by the IPO to confirm you meet the requirements and no conflicting marks exist.
  • Responding promptly to any objections or requests for revisions to get approval.
  • Finally receiving an official certificate proving your ownership of the registered mark.

The standard timeline is 4-6 months start to finish. While it involves some patience and paperwork, securing that registered trademark provides invaluable protection every business wants for establishing their brand in the UK market. It’s an investment well worth making.

What is a trademark for registration?

Starting Your Trademark Registration

A trademark is used to give a company a distinct identity. A word or phrase can be used as a trademark. It might be a symbol, logo, or any other design that represents a certain brand domain. It distinguishes one brand from another. Most people for example, know a specific food chain based on its branding colour or emblem. As a result, a trademark is a visual or graphical depiction of your goods or services.

A trademark is your company’s or brand’s identification but it’s no good if it’s not registered. Without proper registration, anyone will be able to replicate and market your logo. You will be unable to claim it’s yours and as a result, the best course of action is to register your brand as a trademark and you may want to take to advice of a solicitor.

What can be registered?

You can register all of the goods and services that you want to sell in your firm. Although there are specific criteria and expenses for registering multiple commodities, you can have your goods classified from 1-34 classes and your services classified from 35-45 classes and registered by following the correct rules.

What is the best time to register a trademark?

It’s best to register the trademark as soon as you can. Early on in your business venture,  you may not find it useful but it does provides you long-term legal protection. Furthermore, it helps you to build your identity without any similar competitors and also prevents you from fraud or duplications.

Key Points to register a trademark?

To register your trademark, you will need:

  • A trademarkable brand name and logo that is both valid and available.
  • To fill in the form provided by the IPO which should include the products and services you provide

Where to register for the trademark?

In the UK, UKIPO is responsible for registering the trademark. UKIPO is an official organisation that is accountable for the rights of property in the UK. UKIPO stands for the UK Intellectual Property Office.

The procedure of registering for a trademark:

Evaluate whether you fall within the recommended criteria:

First and foremost, determine whether you are eligible based on the guidelines and criteria provided. Because, like all groups, UKIPO has some limitations, such as the inability to use a specific name for a specific shop. Furthermore, offensive or degrading terms and slogans are not permitted to be branded. As a result, it is important to seek legal counsel while applying for registration. It will make the procedure go more smoothly.

The following are some branding recommendations to help ensure validity for trademarking;

Uniqueness:

Your brand name should be distinct and should not be similar to the names of competitors. It should not display product or service names like your competition does. It is critical to be distinct.

Trademark likelihood:

If there is some likelihood of a trademark, the approval of the former trademark owner will act as the first stage in registering your brand.

Look into the trademark:

The UKIPO’s website features a free online database. You must extensively investigate if the name of your trademark already exists or is in the process of being registered. As a result, legal counsel can assist in settling this situation more accurately and wisely.

Follow the law:

Your trademark should follow the rules of morality and conduct. Fowl and deceitful terms are not permitted.

No other matching trademarks:

There should be no similar or same phrases for trademarks representing the same types of goods and services.

Everything is stated on the UKIPO website, so do check it to avoid any errors or contradictions. Only submit the documentation when you are confident in the uniqueness of your trade name, branding, and other measures. Otherwise, objections may occur throughout the examination process, causing it to be delayed.

What types of trade names can be registered?

Following are some types of trade names which can be registered in the UK :

Word mark:

These are the words, phrases or specific terms used to represent your business like Apple, google, Coca-Cola, Adidas etc.

Figurative marks:

These involve some logos, images or figures used to identify your business. For instance: twitter’s Bird, KFC’s Kentucky, and Apple’s Bitten Apple logo.

Both word and figurative:

The term used for both word and figurative is combined. Its best example is the arrow of Amazon where Amazon is inscribed.

Moreover, other types may involve colour marks, shape marks, motion marks, position marks, pattern marks and multimedia marks. As these names refer the trademarks are recognised against their colours, specific sounds or jingles, some shape or design etc.

Documentation for evaluation

Once you are done with the eligibility criteria step. The next step is to apply. The total cost of this is £170 per trademark registration. You have to submit the following documents :

  • A detail of your unique brand with proper images and logo etc.
  • Your contact information.
  • A proper description of the goods and services. UKIPO has classified goods into 1- 34 types of classes while services into 35-45. Therefore, you have to mention the category of the goods you want to register.

Examination by the IPO

The total cost of this procedure is £50. The organisation completely looks into your case and checks its delicateness and eligibility criteria. If you have fulfilled all the basic requirements then you get the green signal to move ahead. Otherwise, you get 6 months to rectify in case of any revisions.

The official announcement by IPO

After passing the examination step, the IPO will advertise your brand and trademark in their publication. This allows the general public to deny or question it if they find it unacceptable. One can do it within 2 months of publication. They may claim that your goods are not defined clearly or your brand is quite similar to theirs and may damage their business etc. In this regard, your process may be delayed up to 12 months. You may get the assistance of a solicitor but the best is to apply after proper research and evaluation to avoid the problems arising in the first place.

Official trademark registration

Finally, you will be awarded with the certificate of registration acknowledging the completion of your trademark application. The average cost of the whole procedure by also adding the cost of legal support would be around £500-£600 and gives you a certificate that is valid for 10 years. At this point you would be able to use the registered ® mark when advertising your goods and services. After it expires, you need to renew your trademark but it doesn’t involve as much effort as first-time registration.

Licencing out to third parties

You can licence out your goods and services to other third parties all across the UK but remember to make a valid contract to avoid any issues in the future. Make sure that the size, colour and other key factors are covered in the registering and licensing guidelines.

Renewal of the trademark registration?

This renewal may cost around £150. As it has been already documented you only have to applying for renewal. If you don’t apply in the decided period then you may lose your trademarked identity resulting in your competitors acquiring your brand name.

Expansion of goods classification

You can register more classes of goods and services while applying for renewal. Don’t forget to follow the appropriate guidelines while altering the designs, shapes and colours of the goods because these colours and logos mark your identity. For instance, the image of Kentucky in the KFC logo identifies the brand, just like the shape and colour of the bottle of Coke marks its identity. One can easily pick up the Coke from the aisle without any confusion over what brand it belongs to which highlights just how important details like this are in the branding of your goods and services.

Surveillance, vigilance and monitoring

You must be vigilant after getting a trademark registered to ensure nobody else is using your brand in an unauthorised manner. Checking websites and google for your brand name and logo can help you to spot the misuse of your services or tradename which can all impact your brand name and businesses reputation. If you find any competitor using your trademark or name. Don’t warn them or initiate a talk to make them conscious. Rather, take screenshots, capture images and evidence and then get legal help to claim your rights and protection. You may provide them a cease or discern warning initially via your lawyer but if it goes unheard then you can sue them for damaging your name.

Can I use this trademark elsewhere?

Of course, you can use this trade name all over the UK as it is registered by the UKIPO. But if you want to expand your business to China, Europe, or America you have to get it registered in the respective countries as well.

How much does it cost and can I register myself?

It varies from country to country while in the UK the registration cost of the first trademark is £170 while further may cost £50 each.

Yes, you may register it yourself and the procedure is very simple to apply but the legal support may be beneficial to make sure that you don’t encounter any kind of duplication issues in the future.

Conclusion

In conclusion, registering a trademark is a crucial step to protect your UK business and establish a strong presence in the market. By understanding the process and types of trademarks available, you can ensure that your business is well-equipped to enforce and protect its intellectual property rights.

By going through the registration process, you gain exclusive rights to use your trademark in the UK, giving you a competitive edge and preventing others from using a similar mark that may confuse consumers. Moreover, a registered trademark provides legal evidence of your ownership and can be used as a valuable asset in case of any disputes or infringement issues.

Overall, the benefits of registering a trademark for your UK business far outweigh the costs and efforts involved. It grants you the peace of mind that your brand is protected and allows you to build a strong and recognisable identity in the market. So, take the necessary steps to register your trademark today and secure the future success of your business

 

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