UK Trade Mark Registration Guide To Get Started

UK Trade Mark Registration Guide To Get Started
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Trade Mark registration in the UK does not have to be a hassle, and there are many advantages once completed. It ensures that when you go on with your day, you have peace of mind knowing that your brand and business name are protected, whether you’re forming a limited company or registering as a sole trader.

Registering a Trade Mark offers you a level of protection. This blog will examine what registering a Trade Mark is and what the benefits are of doing so.

What Does Trade Mark Registration Mean?

You could find it easier to protect your company and brand if you Trade Mark its features such as your business’ logo, company name or even the names of your products or brands within your business.
Your level of brand control will increase, allowing you to sell or licence it as you see fit. If someone uses your branded items without your permission, you are able to ask them to stop doing so and have the option to initiate court proceedings against either the person or business that is doing so. In effect, suing them for doing so. In order to stop others from utilising the Trade Marked name, you may also place the ® sign next to it. This sends a warning to others that you own the Trade Mark and that others are not able to use this.
Find more about Trade Mark Registration in our other blog.

What Can You Register?

When looking at how to register a Trade Mark, you first need to know what you can actually register. UK Trade Mark law is fairly clear on this question. Your Trade Mark can include text, logos, images, and more, but it must be simple to recognise. However, you are not permitted to register derogatory phrases or pictures, and your Trade Mark cannot represent a summary of the products or services you offer. You are also prohibited from Trade Marking any deceptive statements about your company or unoriginal terms and phrases.

It goes without saying that your Trade Mark cannot be identical to something that already exists, but to make sure, check the Intellectual Property Office to see if anyone has previously registered something with the same identity or brand.

Start.Biz is able to undertake Trade Mark searches and offer you advice based on your business’s specific assets and identity. Furthermore, if you do not wish to undertake the process of registering a Trade Mark yourself. Start.biz can register Trade Marks on your business’ behalf and act as your agent, ensuring no one attempts to register a Trade Mark, which is similar to your business.

What are the Benefits of registering a Trade Marking for your Business?

The name, logo, graphics or branding of your company are in the public domain; this means that they are out in the open and thus open to use by anybody. This can’t happen if you have registered the item as a Trade Mark because when you register it, other businesses hoping to trade under identical names or with the same logo or branding won’t be able to use them.

A Trade Mark is not mandatory, but it can hold the key to success for your business. 

Following are some of the benefits a Trade Mark offers:

BENEFIT 1: Although unregistered Trade Marks used in the sale of goods or services could be legally protected, the burden of proof is on you and is substantially greater in the event that someone copies or infringes upon your work. The burden of evidence is lessened, and the business owner is given additional protections when they have a registered Trade Mark on file. Your Trade Mark will be date registered and held at the Intellectual Property Office as evidence of your ownership.

BENEFIT 2: By filing for Trade Mark registration, you may ensure that your brand is distinct from any existing businesses that have registered a Trade Mark. If you unintentionally use someone else’s name or Trade Mark, you risk being sued by the owner of the registered Trade Mark, having to pay fees and fines, and being forced to forfeit any profits you made using the unregistered mark. Court proceedings can be lengthy and costly in this arena.

BENEFIT 3: By registering your Trade Mark, you may prevent other businesses from using a mark that is identical to yours or one that is very similar and may cause confusion over which business they are contracting with.  A Trade Mark grants your business the only right to use the mark in commerce. You own your brand once you’ve registered your Trade Mark.

BENEFIT 4: If someone uses your Trade Mark without permission, you may be able to sue them. It is possible that the income raised by the use of your Trade Mark could be assigned over to you. 

BENEFIT 5: You can use the sign “®” after your Trade Mark to denote that it has been registered with the Intellectual Property Office ( IPO), raising the status of your business.

BENEFIT 6: If your business plans to grow internationally, you register your Trade Mark globally, but you need to be mindful that you would need to file your application at the national office in each country that you wish to register your Trade Mark, save for within the EU, where you can file your application with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. 

For more on the benefits of Trade Marking, read our previous blog about the 7 reasons why you need to Trade Mark your business in the UK.

How to file a Trade Mark Application?

How to file a Trade Mark Application

You must decide who is registering the Trade Mark, whether you’re doing it on behalf of yourself, this is the case if you’re registered as a sole trader.  If your business has been formed as a Limited Company, the company could own the Trade Mark.  You are also able to use an agent such as Start.Biz or a firm of Solicitors to register your Trade Mark.

Additionally, you’ll need to provide a picture and offer the Trade Mark in an advanced format (one that includes more information than simply the name). A single Trade Mark is for a single phrase, sentence, or design, for example, and a series is the variant of a certain term, expression, logo, etc. It would be helpful to decide whether you require a single or series of Trade Marks before registering.

The Trade Mark class, or the category of your Trade Mark, is important for you to know. Make sure you choose wisely since only the goods and services you list in this section will be covered by the registered Trade Mark.

Follow the steps below on how to get a Trade Mark:

file a trade mark application

Step 1: Search

A Trade Mark search should be your first course of action before filing.

Step 2: Filing a Trade Mark Application

To apply for a UK Trade Mark:

  • Trade Mark name
  • A photograph of your company’s Trade Mark logo (.jpg is preferred);
  • Name and address of the applicant (which may be an individual, a pair of individuals, or a business such as a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) or a corporation);
  • A list of the products and/or services that your Trade Mark is currently being used on or will be used in connection with.

If your application seeks priority from a matching international Trade Mark application, present the application number, filing date, and country of the initial filing.

The UK Intellectual Property Office issues a formal filing receipt 2-4 days after filing. The filing receipt certifies the application’s filing date and provides a number for it.

Step 3: Examination

Your Trade Mark application in the UK will generally be assessed within five to fifteen days.

Your application will be looked at based on the following criteria:

Relative Grounds: If the Examiner determines that your Trade Mark is confusingly similar to a Trade Mark that has already been filed or registered in the UK, he or she will notify the UK applicant. Be aware that the Trade Mark Office won’t reject your Trade Mark if there is a comparable mark.

Absolute Grounds: The Trade Mark’s distinctiveness or descriptiveness is decided by the Examiner. Your mark will be scrutinised by the Examiner to ensure that it is neither offensive nor unethical.

The Examiner may also have other inquiries, such as requesting a clarification of the products or services if they weren’t clear.

In the event an examination objection is lodged, the Examiner will give the applicant time to reply.

Step 4: Publication

The application will be placed in the online Trade Mark Journal when the examination phase is finished. Third parties have two months to submit an objection based on previously unregistered or registered rights.

Confusion with a previously filed or registered Trade Mark is the most frequent basis for an objection.

Bad faith and descriptiveness are two other justifications.

When a third party is involved, they often ask to prolong the objection time by a month in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable solution. Oppositions are frequently settled via the straightforward change of goods or services. Without a formal objection, many cases are settled.

stamp

Step 5: Registration

The UK IPO will provide an electronic registration certificate two weeks following publication. There is no longer a paper certificate programme. The electronic copy will be emailed to you.

The registration certificate attests to the registration’s specifics and dates.

As mentioned earlier, you may use the ® sign to denote that your Trade Mark has been registered after the UK Trade Mark application is approved.

You may use the ® sign to denote that your Trade Mark has been registered

What is the timeframe for UK Trade Mark Registration?

If things go smoothly, the registration typically takes four months from the date of application, assuming the examiner will not raise any issues and no one objects to your application.

What is the cost of Trade Marking in the UK?

If you register a Trade Mark yourself in the UK: a single class of products and services, it costs as little as £170 to do so online and £200 by post.

The cost of filing slightly increases with the number of classes covered because each class costs an additional £50. In addition to application and payment, you must provide a fee sheet as well.

You must be aware that if your application is unsuccessful, and it may be for a minor issue, you will forgo your application fee. Further applications will warrant the full application fee again. It is for this reason some business owners prefer to work with an agent such as Start.Biz as this would offer them the security of advice around their application ahead of filing, and any amendments necessary and likely objections are known ahead of paying the application fee.

How long does a Trade Mark last in the UK?

Trade Marks don’t last permanently and must be renewed every ten years if you intend to keep using them. You should note that if you wait until after the six-month period before or after the expiration date, you will not be able to renew it online.

Make your brand your own – Trade Mark it today!

Trade Marks don't last permanently and must be renewed every ten years.

At Start.Biz, we have extensive experience in helping a wide range of businesses with Trade Mark Registration. We make the process hassle-free for our clients and get the job done quickly. Our ultimate goal is the success of your business. So, get in touch with us today for all your Trade Marking needs, and let’s take your business to the next level!

Summary

You could find it easier to protect your company and its brand if you Trade Mark its features

Your Trade Mark can comprise of text, logos, images, and more.

Trade Mark lessens the burden of proof in the case of infringement, mitigates the risk of getting sued, prevents other businesses from using a mark identical to yours, allows you to initiate legal proceedings against anyone using your Trade Mark, elevates the status of your business, and assists business growth internationally.

Steps for filing a Trade Mark application in the UK include: (1) Trade Mark search before filing, (2) ensuring the availability of required documents, (3) getting the application examined, (4) getting the application published in the Trade Mark journal, (5) receiving the electronic registration certificate.

UK Trade Mark registration takes about four months.

The application fee if filing directly at the IPO is between £170 and £200 per class and per Trade Mark.

Trade Marks have to be renewed every ten years.

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