Passing off – should it be relied on? The simple answer to that is no. It’s a law that relates to unregistered trade marks and exists to prevent someone ‘passing off’ their products or services as being yours. The word ‘law’ in that sentence probably makes you think, ‘that’s Ok then, it’s a law so it […]READ MORE
Trade mark searches are vital so don’t treat them lightly. Regardless of your entrepreneurial spirit, unerring faith in your abilities (even in areas where you have no formal training), and Scrooge-like attitude to professional fees, it is vital you employ a trade mark professional to undertake all aspects of your Intellectual Property protection. By the […]READ MORE
Does specialist trade mark advice exist outside the M25? That might sound like a strange question, but one that many people subconsciously wonder. Greater London is a well-known business hub. Large companies and corporations flood there in their thousands vying for the postcode that gives them the most kudos. The problem is, with that postcode […]READ MORE
Trademark, trade mark, or (to be confusing) trade-mark. All three variations are valid, so why so many? Why can’t there be just one correct way of writing it? That could be too simple. The English language is a complicated beast, especially when you consider the number of countries that use it. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising […]READ MORE
Protecting your trade mark must be your top priority. The problem is, many business owners always seem to find obstacles in the way. They’re either too busy, don’t believe their company is big enough to worry about it yet, need more funds, or feel their brand doesn’t warrant a trade mark. In the grand scheme […]READ MORE
Enforcing your trade mark is essential, probably more important than building your brand. If you fail to do it, your brand’s value could be diminished. How to enforce your trade mark The first thing you have to ensure is that your trade mark is correctly registered for the goods and services in which you trade. The […]READ MORE
Unregistered trade marks give you as much protection as a sieve in the rain. However, there is a glimmer of hope. If you’ve been using your trade mark for several years, and built up a large customer base your rights are limited. But, if another business starts using your name, you only have “passing off” […]READ MORE
Trade mark registration mistakes are more common than you think. Although it sounds as though it should be straight forward, it’s not, and when mistakes happen, they can be costly. We’re not just talking about financial cost, but also reputational and time. As trade mark attorneys, it’s our job to make sure our clients’ trade […]READ MORE
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 […]READ MORE
Trade Mark portfolio management wasn’t the first thing on your mind when you started your business. You probably only had one trade mark to register. After all, your company was still in its infancy, and that’s all you needed. However, as time passes and your business grows, you’re beginning to amass new trade marks as your […]READ MORE
In a recent UK trade mark opposition (O-409-18), an application for TRUMP TV was refused by the UK Trade Mark Office on the ground of bad faith. On 30 October 2016, a UK company, Trump International Ltd, applied to register the trade mark TRUMP TV for a range of services in Classes 38 and 41.READ MORE
Is a bespoke trade mark specification essential? Let’s look at the evidence. The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) uses a worldwide trade mark classification system that groups together similar goods and services into 45 classes for trade mark registration purposes. Registering your trade mark is essential. It prevents someone else registering the same or a […]READ MORE
Litigation refers to proceedings initiated between two opposing parties to enforce or defend a legal right. In the case of trade marks, litigation begins the moment someone decides to formally enforce or defend their legal rights. The reality of litigation is that it is an incredibly stressful experience. It also has the potential to tie […]READ MORE
Trade mark confusion is a real problem. Your trade mark is a unique signifier to consumers of the origin and quality of your products or services. It’s just one of the things that stands you apart from your competitors. The idea is that it is individual to you. That’s why, when you applied to register […]READ MORE
You had a trade mark to register for your business. After doing a Google search, you decided the application processes looked pretty straightforward. Therefore, due to all your other start-up costs, you chose to go down the DIY route. Encouraged by all the advice you read online you didn’t worry about reading up on all […]READ MORE
You already know how important it is to protect your brand by registering your trade mark, but do you know how a series of trade marks works? When developing your brand, it’s entirely possible that you’ll play with different colourways, character cases, and include descriptions of the product. Under specific circumstances, you could get trade […]READ MORE
Trade mark revocation is something we’ve covered in detail in the past. However, a recent high profile case makes it worthwhile revisiting this topic area. There is a burger war happening. The Ireland-based fast-food chain, Supermac’s, filed a trade mark revocation against McDonald’s Big Mac with the EUIPO. It states that the mark wasn’t put […]READ MORE
You already know the importance of registering your trade mark, but what about way you use it? Improper use can lead to the dilution of your brand – and you don’t want that happen. To help businesses ensure their trade marks remain strong and valid, there is an easy-to-remember guide tha will help you make […]READ MORE
The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) first introduced the UK Fast Track Opposition Procedure in 2013. Its inception was as direct result of the concerns that the cost and administrative burden of submitting an opposition to trade mark registration was leaving many SMEs open to brand dilution. This new “fast track” procedure helps businesses, […]READ MORE
Picking the right trade mark class or classes for your product or service is critical. Get it wrong, and you will compromise the integrity of your most valuable asset. However, that doesn’t mean you should register it in umpteen classes ‘just to be on the safe side.’ Avoid becoming a Trade Mark Troll To ‘troll’ […]READ MORE
Dr Stephen James writes again for Ward Trade Marks. Stephen is a past president of CITMA, and a leading practitioner with almost 40 years’ experience in UK and EU trade mark law.This time he reviews a UK IPO trade mark opposition case where an application for a playful word mark covering dog treats was alleged to […]READ MORE
Last month, we looked at what could potentially happen to your brand if you went down the DIY trade mark route. One error could lead to extra costs, time delays in achieving your trade mark registration, and even catastrophic damage to your brand.READ MORE
The revoking of a trade mark is a real threat. Registering your trade mark protects your business’s intellectual property. It stops other companies from using a similar mark without your permission. However, if you don’t use your registered trade mark within five years, it could be revoked. Use your trade mark or risk losing it […]READ MORE
When we talk about your brand reputation, we’re referring to your intellectual property, specifically its value. That’s why ‘how much is your brand’s reputation worth?’ is a question worth asking. Hopefully, it makes you stop and think about what you could lose if something when wrong. You might think your brand is untouchable; it’s your […]READ MORE
Ward Trade Marks is exhibiting at this year’s Peterborough B2B Exhibition. If you’re thinking about taking a day out of the office to focus on your intellectual property needs, this event ticks all the boxes. It’s an excellent opportunity to make some new contacts. You could even discover new business opportunities. This free event is […]READ MORE
The Company Names Tribunal (CNT) deals with: “Complaints about cases where a company name is registered for the primary purpose of preventing someone else with legitimate interest from registering it or demanding payment from them to release it.” (Source: gov.uk) Established on 1 October 2008, brand owners can now protect their trade marks from the registration […]READ MORE
Dr Stephen James writes again for Ward Trade Marks. Stephen is a past president of CITMA and a leading practitioner with almost 40 years’ experience in UK and EU trade mark law. This time he reviews CJEU and General Court judgements on the CACTUS OF PEACE case, which raises a prickly issue in more ways than […]READ MORE
Deciding on which classes to register your trade mark in is not as easy as you might think. The current Trade Marks Act came into force on 31st October 1994. Since then, applicants have been able to file an application covering more than one class of goods/services. Commonly known as ‘multi-class applications’, they are a useful […]READ MORE
Registered and unregistered trade marks are represented by different symbols. But do you know whether you should be using TM or ®? An interesting question and one that you need to know the answer to if you are looking to protect the intellectual property rights of your company. Intellectual property (IP) refers to the valuable […]READ MORE
Before we tackle the big question of how to file an opposition against a trade mark, let’s look at why you would want to. In an earlier blog, we looked at what you should do if you receive a TM7A Notice of Threatened Opposition. But what if the boot was on the other foot? What […]READ MORE
A TM7A Notice of Threatened Opposition sounds scary. However, the worst thing you can do if you get one is panic. This article tells you a bit more about TM7As, the process behind them, and what you can do if you receive one. Once a trade mark has been accepted by the Intellectual Property Office […]READ MORE
Trade mark genericide is real. It happens when a brand’s trade mark is used in the wrong way. Over time, its value dwindles, as it is no longer seen as the distinctive trade mark it once was. Examples are SELLOTAPE, HOOVER, and PORTAKABIN. Before we go into trade mark genericide in more detail, let’s recap […]READ MORE
Why should a trade mark attorney be telling you about the Chinese Domain Name Scam? Well, your domain name is a vital part of your company’s brand. It identifies and promotes your business through all digital mediums and is, therefore, one of your most valuable intellectual property assets. How does the Chinese Domain Name Scam […]READ MORE
Dr Stephen James writes again for Ward Trade Marks. Stephen is a past president of CITMA, and a leading practitioner with almost 40 years’ experience in UK and EU trade mark law. This time he reviews an EUIPO trade mark opposition case where an application for a figurative trade mark covering sunglasses was alleged to infringe […]READ MORE
Intellectual property (IP) matters aren’t always the primary concern of charities. That’s not a criticism; it’s just the way it is. Charities are organisations set up to help society in some way. Usually run by people from non-executive backgrounds, brand protection is not always entrenched in their thinking. However, for companies, it’s part of the […]READ MORE
Dr Stephen James writes again for Ward Trade Marks. Stephen is a past president of CITMA, and a leading practitioner with almost 40 years’ experience in UK and EU trade mark law. This time he reviews another very interesting UK IPO case where the applicant applied to register Brexit as a word mark in class 32 for […]READ MORE
Exporting to foreign markets is a goal for many companies. However, they often make the mistake of failing to take precautions before dipping their toe into new ventures. One of your most valuable assets is your Intellectual Property (IP), part of which is your Trade Mark. It is the one thing that gives your product […]READ MORE
Dr Stephen James writes again for Ward Trade Marks. Stephen is a past president of CITMA, and a leading practitioner with almost 40 years’ experience in UK and EU trade mark law. This time he reviews another UK IPO case where Shine TV, owners of the well known MASTERCHEF trade mark opposed an application for Mister […]READ MORE
Us Brits love our pets, which is why the pet brand market is one of the fastest growing and most lucrative markets to get into. According to TotallyMoney.com, pet owners in the UK spent a record-breaking £7.16bn on their animals in 2017, a growth of 25% since 2010. That equates to an average annual spend […]READ MORE
Why should you register your trade mark in China? Well, for starters it is the biggest market in the world. Plus, China receives the most significant number of trade mark applications anywhere. And doing business in China without registering your trade mark is extremely risky. Conquering the East may not be in your immediate business […]READ MORE
Before talking about intellectual property (IP), let me ask you this. Do you believe you have adequate protection to safeguard your company’s assets? You might think the answer is yes because you have all necessary insurances in place, you have a business disaster recovery/continuity plan, and you go out of your way to retain the […]READ MORE
Before getting into the nitty-gritty about what a trade mark attorney does, let’s go back to basics: what exactly is a trade mark? Aside from your original business idea and your people, a trade mark is a vital company asset. It can be a word, logo, shape, and colour, even a sound that indicates the […]READ MORE
Trade mark registration is one of a pile of expenses you’ll face when setting up your business. Premises, websites, logos and other marketing materials are at the top of your list. You hire a professional web designer (because that’s a skill set you don’t have), a graphic designer for your logo and an agency to […]READ MORE
Your cosmetics brand is ready for launch. After months of planning, researching, and testing, everything has come together. What’s more, inspiration has struck you and you’ve thought of a great name for your new product. There are three essential steps that your trade mark attorney will recommend you take before your product is launched to […]READ MORE
Opposition decisions at the UKIPO and the EUIPO are notoriously fickle the best of times. This article highlights how, even with the same opponents and near identical facts, language differences and differences in conceptual interpretation can lead to inconsistent outcomes and headaches for trade mark owners.READ MORE
Trade mark infringement and passing off are two options that can help you protect your brand. But what’s the difference? This post explains why trade mark registration is the best protection and why you shouldn’t rely on passing off.READ MORE
Our guest blogger Dr Stephen James writes again for Ward Trade Marks. Stephen is a past president of CITMA, and a leading practitioner with almost 40 years’ experience in UK and EU trade mark law. This time he reviews another recent case before the UK IPO where the owner of a get-up mark with a reputation […]READ MORE
Our guest blogger Dr Stephen James writes again for Ward Trade Marks. Stephen is a past president of CITMA, and a leading practitioner with almost 40 years’ experience in UK and EU trade mark law. This time he tackles the knotty problem of lookalike products, a perennial issue for many brand owners: Lookalike branding is an […]READ MORE
Here at Ward Trade Marks we are happy to introduce our guest blog by Dr. Stephen James. Stephen is a past president of CITMA, and a leading practitioner with almost 40 years’ experience in UK and EU trade mark law. Under European (and the UK) trade mark law, trade mark revocation may occur if there […]READ MORE
What is an EU Trade Mark? A EU Trade Mark (EUTM) is a single trade mark registration that provides protection in all of the member states of the European Union. EUTMs are dealt with by the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in Alicante, Spain, and over 117,000 applications were filed last year. If you conduct […]READ MORE
The rights you get through a registered trade mark are much stronger and broader than those you gain through use.
A registered trade mark gives you a legal monopoly.
Ward Trade Marks, one of the UK’s leading specialist trade mark attorneys, has been named the New Exporter of the Year in the recent Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce 2017 Global Awards. The company, with offices in both Cambridge and Suffolk, scooped this prestigious recognition having successfully registered and protected nearly 140 UK trade marks in 12 overseas markets, including the European Union and the US, over the last two years alone.READ MORE
Like two heavyweight boxers, global chocolate manufacturers Cadbury and Nestle have gone through another round of trading blows against each other’s trade marks.
This time around and earlier this month, it was Nestle that was given the four-fingered count down in a knockout blow whereby the Court of Appeal judged that they couldn’t claim the shape of their KitKat bars as being registrable as a trade mark. The Court ruled that the four-finger design had “no inherent distinctiveness” and in any case the company had not marketed the shape of the bar for a considerable period of time.READ MORE
Rachael’s Bullet Points Intellectual Property Enterprise Court drama: best avoided, but we can help if needs be As members of our professional body, the CITMA, I recently took up the opportunity to shadow a judge at the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC). The IPEC is a specialist court which has changed the nature of trade […]READ MORE
Here at Ward Trade Marks, the way we go about doing things is as important as their outcome. Ward Trade Marks strives to be an ethical company in everything we do from pitching for new business to running the accounts of established clients and onto how we engage with the rest of the world. We’ll […]READ MORE
WardWatch® uses specialist software to monitor both word and logo trade mark registers in the UK, European Union (EU) and beyond. For word marks the service reports on newly published identical and phonetically identical marks across all sector categories of relevance to a client company and for logo marks it reports on newly published visually similar marks, again across all sector categories of relevance to a client company.READ MORE
A 100% registration rate is something many trade mark attorneys would like to claim. Well, Ward Trade Marks, one of the UK’s leading trade mark attorneys with offices in both Cambridge and Suffolk, has confirmed a 100% success rate in the first or “examination” stage in registering client trade marks in the UK and EU […]READ MORE
Suffolk trade mark specialist bags a hat-trick of new client wins Suffolk trade mark specialist, Ward Trade Marks, one of the UK’s leading trade mark attorneys, has announced the acquisition of three new clients for its registration and protection service since the start of the New Year. Built on founder Rachael Ward’s quarter century of […]READ MORE
Ward Trade Marks is sending Bill Ward to the 139th annual meeting of the International Trademark Association (INTA) held in Barcelona during late May 2017. The International Trademark Association (INTA) is the global association of trade mark owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trade marks and related intellectual property in order to protect consumers and to promote fair and effective commerce.READ MORE
Suffolk trade mark specialist, Ward Trade Marks, one of the UK’s leading trade mark attorneys, has hired a new specialist lawyer to boost the capacity of their growing business. Trade marks comprise logos, straplines, words and other visual ways of representing a brand. They are a key part of a company’s identity, a symbol of […]READ MORE
Ward Trade Marks, one of the East Anglia’s leading trade mark attorneys is proud to announce that it has joined Norfolk Chamber of Commerce.READ MORE
Bill’s Bullets Protecting your trade marks is essential. Here are my five top tips for keeping your IP and business protected. Use a specialist trade mark attorney A specialist trade mark attorney will properly register your trade mark to give you exclusive rights in the territories within which it is registered. Many business owners believe […]READ MORE
Applying to register trade marks that are well known descriptive terms is problematic. We will have to wait and see if the EU IPO allows OKTOBERFEST.READ MORE
This article summarises the five main myths (and the truthful answers) that we commonly hear when discussing trade mark protection with business owners.READ MORE
Consumers are used to immediacy, and we are frequently asked why it takes such a long time to get a trade mark registered. In truth, it doesn’t take a long time at all, especially when you take a look at the process.
UK applications are filed at the Intellectual Property Office (“IPO”), and it is possible to gain registration in as little as three to four months. This sort of timescale assumes either that no objections have been raised by the IPO or third parties, or that where there have been objections, these have been dealt with straight away. A more general timescale is six months. We can see why this length of time is typical, by taking a look at the process through to registration.READ MORE
Registering your trade mark is not the end of the road. A well thought out programme of enforcement will ensure that your rights are not diluted over time. It’s vital to look after your registered rights, or you may find that competitors come into the market with similar marks, diverting trade away from your business and losing you money.READ MORE
As the year anniversary of the re-brand of Cambridge-based Ward Trade Marks approaches, business is continuing to flood in at a remarkable rate. To meet the demanding needs of an ever-increasing flow of work, the team has adjusted in size with the appointment of a new office manager. Ward is delighted to welcome Sarah Jarvis into this role.READ MORE
Protecting your trade mark through registration is a great place to start. Rachael Ward of Ward Trade Marks would like to share three insider secrets as to how you can use Intellectual Property to make your beer brand a great success for a relatively small investment.READ MORE
Unjustified Threats Of Trade Mark Infringement: The hidden dangers of sending trade mark cease and desist letters
I have been asked on several occasions whether we have a standard cease and desist letter to send to alleged infringers. The answer to this is no, for two main reasons. Firstly, each letter must be carefully drafted in order to meet the particular circumstances of the case. Secondly – and more importantly – there is an issue in that a letter which threatens infringement without being justified can end up with you being sued, instead of the alleged infringer.READ MORE
Trade mark litigation is almost always preceded by a “cease and desist” letter, or “letter before action”. Such correspondence generally sets out the rights of the owner, and instructs the other party in strongly worded terms to cease use of the trade mark complained of, while threatening actions for trade mark infringement and/or passing off.READ MORE
Monkey and I go back a long way. All the way back to 2002 in fact, when I filed an application to register him both as a three dimensional trade mark, and a two dimensional logo. It was the beginning of a story that no one could have predicted.READ MORE
Today as the first of March is the day when us Taffies will be tucking in to Cawl, the national dish of Wales, proudly wearing our daffodil or leek, and for those of us far from home, no doubt feeling a certain hiraeth.READ MORE
As June’s EU Referendum is everywhere, I thought it would be useful to take a look at one of the great benefits that UK businesses have as a result of their membership of the EU, namely the Community Trade Mark (“CTM”).
A CTM provides protection across all member states of the European Union in a single registration. CTMs are dealt with by a Registry located in Alicante, Spain. The CTM system is phenomenally successful, and saw around 105,000 applications filed only last year.READ MORE
One of the biggest tasks involved in filing a trade mark application is correctly drafting the list of goods and services, namely the “specification”.
Now this may sound simple, but this part of the process is critical.
The fact is that there are many different ways in which a poorly drafted specification can have a negative impact on the worth of your trade mark. We look at two of them below.READ MORE
IP rights designed to motivate the creation of new innovative products by awarding a monopoly, are increasingly criticized for having the opposite effect of that intended. This article seeks to show that trade marks are still valuable in the post-Internet age.READ MORE
In 1996 the Community Trade Mark came into being, providing business owners with a trade mark which covered the entire European Union with one single application.
It was nothing short of revolutionary, and I remember it well.READ MORE
After months of planning, researching, brewing and tasting, everything has come together. What’s more, inspiration has struck you and you’ve thought of a great name for your new beer.
There are three essential steps that your trade mark attorney will recommend you take before your product is launched to the thirsty public, all of which can be done for a relatively small investment.
Failure to take any of these steps could mean you are left with an IP problem, more commonly known as thousands in legal bills, leading to your brand being scuppered before you’ve hardly started.
The one major mistake that we see occurring again and again is entrepreneurs building their businesses around unregistered trade marks, leaving the door is wide open for competitors to either imitate them, or worse, jump in and register the trade mark themselves.READ MORE
Trade mark litigation is almost always preceded by a cease and desist letter. Such letters generally set out the rights of the owner, and instruct the other party in strongly worded terms to cease use of the trade mark complained of, while threatening actions for trade mark infringement and/or passing off. Cease and desist letters can be intimidating, but don’t panic, we are here to help.READ MORE
Can I register a trade mark myself? The internet age has empowered us all in the art of self help and it is possible for business owners to register their own trade marks online at the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), or at the Community Trade Mark Office in Alicante. However, this approach is fraught with risks. We routinely see instances of ‘DIY’ trade marks being refused because they didn’t meet the criteria for registration, or were registered with so many weaknesses that effective enforcement of the ultimate registration would be difficult or even impossible. In many cases it is only when the time comes to enforce your trade mark registration against a competitor that the issues come to light. By then, it’s almost always too late.READ MORE