Trademarks – Why You Should Register Yours
Why register a trademark?
A registered trademark is easier and cheaper to protect than an unregistered mark, allowing it to be dealt with as ‘property’. If your mark is unregistered, you will only be able to enforce your rights if you have an established reputation in the mark and someone has misrepresented their goods as yours, causing you loss. If you have a registered mark, you can take action against them for trademark infringement even before you have used the mark or established any reputation in it.
Also, a registered mark can be dealt with as any other property and can be licensed, mortgaged, charged etc. This makes it easy to transfer it between businesses, and if you don’t want to use it, you can charge someone else for using it by licensing it to them for royalties. A registered trademark adds value to your business.
How our trademark lawyers can help you
If you believe your mark would be capable of trademark registration, we will conduct a search of the existing marks on the register and file your application for you. If the examiner objects to your mark, either because it is too similar to an existing mark or because it is too descriptive, we can try and overcome the objections for you.
Once your mark is registered you will be able to use the ® symbol next to your mark, showing people that it is registered and therefore protected. If your mark is refused registration, fret not – there are still other ways we can protect it.
A trademark registration covers only the UK and if you trade in Europe, it may be worth considering a Community Trade Mark which will give you rights throughout the EU.
Your trademarks – 7 practical tips on how to use them
Whether or not you are relying on registered, or unregistered trade marks, you will need to be proactive to both protect and exploit your brand. Here our team list 8 practical tips on how to use your trade marks.
1. When considering registering a trade mark, make sure that you carry out a full trade mark search first
2. Consider registering your new trade mark before splashing out on advertising or brand design
3. Consider registration of your trade mark in any territory where your services or products will be sold – paying particular attention to larger countries
4. If you appoint an external design agency to create your branding, make sure you obtain written confirmation of the agencies agreement to an exclusive transfer of the intellectual property rights in that branding to you
5. Create clear brand guidelines indicating how your brand must be used, with details such as the font, colour, and size and whether the™ or ® symbols should be used – and make sure that any licensees follow these guidelines
6. Make someone responsible for the renewal of any trade mark or domain names – making sure that these don’t accidentally lapse
7. If you allow another business the use of your business name or trade marks, ensure proper protection of your business in a well drafted licensing contract
What rights does registration of my trademark give me?
You will be entitled to stop someone else from using:
- An identical mark on identical or similar goods, or
- A similar mark (either in appearance or sound) on identical or similar goods
This is a hugely valuable right for a company to have as it protects your brand, creates valuable brand strategy and awareness and has large commercial value as trademarks can be licensed or sold for valuable consideration.
What’s the difference between ™ and ®?
These signify unregistered and registered marks, respectively.
- The ™ signifies an unregistered trademark. It is notification to the public that you claim your mark as a mark of origin for your business.
- ® (said as ‘R in a circle’) is a notice that the mark is registered and benefits from the law relating to registered trademarks.
Why choose our Trademark Lawyers?
We are the only law firm in the area dedicated to intellectual property rights and trademark law. We provide city quality trademark expertise at local prices – making previously specialist advice available and affordable to all businesses, however large or small.