Setting up a new business is exciting. You put in a lot of hard work to build something you’re proud of, so it makes sense to protect it. By registering a trade mark you can protect your company name, line of products, logo or slogans to stop other brands from stealing your customers or imitating your business.

Trade marks give you the legal ownership of your brand and you can register for one that covers the UK, EU or both depending on how big your business is. But what are the common misconceptions and mistakes made about trade marks and how do you avoid them?

Wrong. Unfortunately having a company name registered doesn’t give you the legal protection over anything created by somebody else that’s named similarly or uses your logo. A registration for a trade mark is something completely separate.

A UK trade mark won’t protect your brand globally

You can apply to register for a trade mark that gives you legal protection in the UK, EU or both. Having a mark registered in the UK wouldn’t give you any legal ownership over the use of your brand in the rest of the world. If you want to extend the protection of your brand further than this, you’ll have to apply for International Registration.

You can’t trade mark just anything

There are strict rules about what you can and can’t trade mark. You can’t trade mark anything offensive that contains swear words or offensive imagery. You also can’t trade mark anything that describes the good, service or product that it relates to. For example, an application that uses the word ‘food’ in the name wouldn’t be approved.

Misleading applications are also often rejected. So, if you’re using the word ‘organic’ to describe your product that’s not organic, don’t expect your application to succeed. Other no-go’s include 3D shapes, any terms that are too generic and anything that looks like state symbols or flags.

You should always make a search of the trade mark register before you apply, to find out whether there would be any conflicts with marks that are already registered. Luckily, if you’re getting a specialist to help, they should do this for you.

Making an application takes time

Making an application can be quite quick, but the time it takes for it to be processed and approved could be around four months. It’s important to make sure that you get your application right first time, else you risk having to pay for it twice, or more!

Within 20 days of your application being submitted you’ll get an examination report and you’ll be given two months to respond to any issues or objections that arise. If somebody opposes your application the Intellectual Property Office will let you know. You’ll be about to withdraw your application, liaise with the person making the objection or defend your application. After any issues are resolved you’ll find out whether your application is approved or denied.

We work with trade mark registration experts to make sure that your trade mark application is as easy as possible. We deal with all the paperwork for you, so all you need to do is let us know about what it is you’d like to protect and we’ll get our specialists onto it for you.

Find out more about our trade mark services here.

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