Registering a trademark is a sensible way of protecting the reputation of your business from others using the same or a similar trademark in relation to the same or similar goods and/or services in which your trademark is registered (whether they copy your mark or create a similar one independently). Trademark registration lasts for ten years and is renewable every ten years indefinitely thereafter.
A trademark is an important business asset which helps you to obtain and retain customers and reinforce a distinctive brand that people trust and associate with a quality product or service. A memorable and well-managed trademark is also powerful way to distinguish your business products and services from your competitors. A lot of money and time goes in to building a strong brand so you do not want a competitor to benefit from your reputation or indeed unknowingly infringe on someone else’s trademark yourself.
Before you choose a trademark (or domain name) for your business, it is usually sensible to research whether your proposed mark might infringe another’s rights. At the very least, you should search online and via the key trademark registries such as the Intellectual Property Office (www.ipo.gov.uk). Searches should cover the actual proposed mark and any obvious variations, e.g. of spelling. If the new mark will represent a significant investment, you should consider instructing a trademark professional to conduct the search. Many companies are reluctant to fund this, leaving them vulnerable to Intellectual Property infringement and profiteering from their company’s brand, invention or creation.
A dispute arising in relation to a registered trademark will be less expensive to resolve than that of an unregistered trademark as the common law action of ‘passing off’ is more difficult and expensive to prove. Both the Police and Trading Standards have the ability to prosecute those who misuse registered trademarks and trademark infringement can result in a considerable fine or imprisonment.
IP law and Trademark law in particular is very complex so it is advisable to seek specialist intellectual property advice before proceeding. Contact our Trademark Attorney or one of our Intellectual Property Solicitors today for specialist legal advice on protecting your ideas, business name and Intellectual Property from day one – or for more information, why not visit one of our three dedicated IP websites :–
Intellectual Property Lawyer
The Copyright Lawyers
Trade Mark UK