Ever wondered how you can register a trade mark that makes your brand recognisable, for example a logo or a sound?
Registering a trade mark lets you stop other people from using it without your permission. A trade mark registration lasts 10 years and is only valid in the country of registration. You can renew it every 10 years. Company names and domain names aren’t automatically trade marks. Company names are registered with Companies House (so no-one else can register a company with the same name at the same registry). Domain names for internet use are registered with a domain registrar and are similarly protected.
If you want to protect your brand name or image you will have to go through a different registration process.
Register a trade mark in the UK
- Firstly, you will need to check that your brand qualifies as a trade mark - you can’t change it after you’ve submitted an application.
- Find out if an identical or similar trade mark already exists - it’s your responsibility to do a thorough search.
- If a similar mark does not exist you can proceed to register your trade mark.
- The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) checks your application.
- The IPO makes your application public to give other people the chance to oppose it.
- The IPO accepts or refuses your trade mark application - they’ll send you a certificate if they accept it.
If you are establishing a recognisable brand image the last thing you want is a competitor to capitalise on your hard work by plagiarising your trade mark. The best way to protect your investment is to register your trade mark. The IPO website explains how this can be done or you can employ a registration firm to do the form filling for you. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-applying/t-apply.htm