How to register a trademark?
Trademarking a name or sign are just a few methods of protecting intellectual property. Our latest post looks at how to register a trademark.
If you’ve got a great product, you’ll want to make sure you protect it from copycats who could damage your brand’s image. Trademarks let you do this by protecting the intellectual property associated with the product’s name, logo and design.
Here’s a quick guide to what you need to know to register a trade mark.
Check that you qualify
The first thing you need to do when you’re registering a trade mark is make sure your brand qualifies. It must be unique, and can include words, sounds, logos, colours, and any combination of these elements.
Please note: your trade mark can’t just be a description of the product, and it can’t be offensive.
Once you’ve decided that your trade mark qualifies, you need to make sure it doesn’t already exist.
- Search the trade marks database to see if anyone has registered the same or similar trade mark for the same or similar product or services
- Ask the holders of similar existing trade marks for permission to register yours by getting a ‘letter of consent’, which you must submit with your application
- If you need help, you can use a trade mark attorney for the searches and registrations
Make sure you’re on top of your class
Next you need to know what class your product falls into. Luckily, there’s a comprehensive list of what’s contained in the list of 45 classes of goods and services online here.
If you’re struggling to place your product, don’t worry. You can contact the Intellectual Property Office and they can help you to find the right class.
Send in your application
Once you’ve got details of what you want to register, the classes that it will go in, and letters of consent if you need them, you’re ready to apply.
Cost of registering a trademark cost £170.
Alternatively you can apply by post, which costs £200 for one class, and £50 for each additional one.
Once you’ve applied
After you’ve applied there are a few different things that can happen. First you’ll get feedback on your application, called an ‘examination report’, which will be within 20 days. You have 2 months to resolve any problems, including clashes with existing trade marks.
If there are no objections, or once objections have been resolved, your application will be published in the trade marks journal (a weekly publication including UK trade marks and international trade marks applicable in the UK) for 2 months. During this time it can be opposed.
Dealing with opposition
If your trade mark is opposed, you have a number of options. You could withdraw your application, talk to your opposer, or defend your application. In the last case, there may be associated legal costs, but this is a necessary hurdle to getting your trade mark registered.
Once all of that has been completed, you’ll be the happy owner of a new trade mark.
Congratulations! You’ll now be in the position to object to any copycat trade marks that spring up, giving you the proper avenues to defend your intellectual property and your brand.