If it were easy to register a trade mark, trade mark attorneys wouldn’t exist.
Their very existence shows that a process that appears simple is fraught with pitfalls waiting to trap unsuspecting DIYers.
Before we go any further, let’s recap on what a trade mark is and why it’s important to get yours registered.
It can be a word, shape, colour, or logo that represents your product or service. It is not your company name or domain name.
When registered, you enjoy legislative protection that prevents another business from using the same or a similar mark without your permission.
You can recognise a registered trade mark by the use of the ® symbol. Any infringement is enforceable under UK trade mark law.
The ™ sign indicates an unregistered trade mark, which gives no legal protection in the case of infringement leaving only passing off as a way of recourse.
The pitfalls of trade mark registration
The path to trade mark registration is complex.
It’s vital you get it right at the beginning. Any mistake in your application will result in it being rejected, meaning you’ll have to start all over again. That means additional costs (you have to pay for every application) and considerable delays to the legal protection of your mark.
On top of that:
- If your application is accepted and you haven’t listed all the classes (of which there are 45) you fall into, you’ll leave your brand vulnerable
- With the application process taking anywhere from four to eight months, if yours is rejected, you’ll have to reapply and potentially, wait a further eight months before you’re protected
- Even if you file successfully, your trade mark is only provisionally protected so you can’t enforce any infringements until registration is complete
- If your application is opposed, you will have to defend your claim. In the UK, if you fail to do so, your application will be deemed abandoned, and you may be liable to pay third party costs
- Depending on where you trade, you’ll have to decide whether you need to apply for a UK trade mark or an EU trade mark. There is no such thing as a global trade mark, so you have to register in every territory in which you currently do business or are likely to in the near future
- Once your trade mark is registered, you have to monitor the market to make sure no infringements occur
Not looking quite so straightforward now, is it?
There is an easier way
Of course, you don’t have to navigate this minefield on your own.
By working with a Chartered trade mark attorney, you’ll get:
- Expert advice on the strength of your trade mark
- Advice on where it should be registered
- A bespoke classification to make sure you’re completely protected
- Someone to make sure your trade mark is renewed to maintain your legal protection
Yes, there is, of course, the additional cost of their fee to consider, but surely it’s worth it for the peace of mind you’ll have knowing all your hard work is protected.