It’s true to say there is nothing from stopping you using your trade mark if it’s not registered.
That’s why so many business owners don’t bother.
But they’re missing the point of trade mark registration. Look at it this way. As your business grows, so does your reputation. However, what happens when someone else decides to cash in on your success? They start using your name (or one remarkably similar), and you start losing customers. Or, worse still, they sell substandard goods using your name, damaging the reputation you’ve fought so hard to build.
If you think that’s bad, what happens when someone else registers your trade mark? Without a correct registration your only recourse is through a passing off legal action.
That is why it’s imperative that you register immediately. Yes, there will be a small outlay, but nothing compared to what any of the above scenarios will end up costing you.
Still not convinced?
If you’re still sitting on the fence take a look at these five reasons why you should register your trade mark.
1) Exclusive rights
Exclusivity only comes through registration.
Only you are able to use your trade mark in the territory in which it is registered (e.g. UK, EU, USA etc.). That means, should someone else try and cash in on your mark, you can sue them for trade mark infringement.
It’s important to remember though that your registration has to be renewed every ten years (in the UK), so don’t let it slip.
2) Don’t rely on passing off
Earlier we mentioned the legal action of passing off. That is the only thing you have to fall back on if someone else used a trade mark that you’d not registered.
It’s a common law right and to be successful you must prove:
- You have goodwill/ reputation in the trade mark
- The other party has made an actionable misrepresentation
- This has caused you damage
As a result, passing off can be difficult and costly to prove, as these actions are often beyond the budget of most companies. Which means, if you can’t enforce it, you may have to give up your trade mark, regardless of how long you’ve been using it.
3) Registered trade marks add value
You’ve probably heard the termIntellectual Property,well, that is what your registered trade mark is, and therefore it has a value because you can:
- Sell it
- Licence it
- Franchise it
- Mortgage it
Over and above all of that, your trade mark is your brand that attracts customers because it adds credibility to what you do. Let’s face it, how many products have you bought from Apple because Apple makes them? That brand carries connotations of innovation, reliability, and ‘coolness’. They may be one of the more expensive options, but customers buy into the brand and that’s what makes trade marks so powerful.
4) Identify the origin of a product
Other than giving you legal protection (when registered), your trade mark also prevents confusion in the marketplace. It tells your customers who you are, and where to return to if they like your product. That’s why it’s such a valuable and important marketing tool; it sets you apart from your competitors.
5) Counterfeit goods
No one likes a copycat, and having a registered trade mark helps Trading Standards Officers or the police to bring charges against counterfeiters if they are using your mark.
Now do you see why it’s vital you registered your trade mark from the outset?
You’d be crazy to drive around in an uninsured car or leave your home and contents unprotected, and you’d never dream of leaving your family unprovided for if the worse happened, so why leave your company’s reputation in the lap of the Gods?
Registration of your trade mark(s) has to be at the top of your list when starting in business. Find a trade mark attorney to help you and then you can go out into the business world and trade safe in the knowledge that your most valuable asset – your brand – is protected.
Don’t risk your reputation. To find out more about getting your trade mark registered: