Trademark is a type of intellectual property and is commonly referred to as your "brand". A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing your goods or services from those of your competitors.

Trademarks create the identity of the products and services provided by the companies. For this reason, the brand you choose should not have been registered by someone else in the class you want IP protection.


Frequently Asked Questions

A trade mark can be anything that allows consumers to distinguish your goods or services from those of another. It can include:

• Word
• Logo
• Shape
• Position
• Pattern
• Colour (single or combination)
• Sound
• Motion
• Multimedia
• Hologram
UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) does not accept trademarks that are:

• offensive (swear words or pornographic images)
• describing the goods or services it will relate to, for example, the word ‘cotton’ cannot be a trademark for a cotton textile company
• misleading, for example, use the word ‘organic’ for goods that are not organic
• 3-dimensional shape associated with your trademark, for example, the shape of an egg for eggs
• too common and non-distinctive, for example, a simple statement like ‘we lead the way’
• looking too similar to state symbols like flags or hallmarks
There are two main reasons:

1) If you have not checked that your brand is free to use, you risk receiving a letter from the IP owner to stop using your brand due to IP infringement.

2) As your reputation grows and you become established, the more likely it is that people will start to copy you. There is a risk of someone else registering your brand as a trademark and attempting to stop you from using your own brand name – whilst there may be scope for you to push back on the basis of any goodwill you have accrued via “unregistered rights”, it can be costly and time-consuming to prove you have earlier rights in a mark.

Having the protection from registered trademarks means you can take action to stop this.
Registering your company name or owning a domain name give you virtually no legal rights to stop someone else from using your name or logo.
The term of trademark registration is ten years. It can be renewed indefinitely on payment of additional fees. Trademark rights are private rights and protection is enforced through court orders.
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