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News & Opinion

Use it or lose it: a cautionary tale about coffee trade marks

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 over 30 years’ experience in UK and EU trade mark law. Under European (and UK) trade mark law, a trade mark registration may be revoked on […]

December 7, 2017 Bill
Ward Trade Marks

What if I don’t have a registered trade mark but someone else is using my name?

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.

June 13, 2017 Rachael
Ward Trade Marks winner of Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce global awards: new exporter of the year 2017

Ward Trade Marks scoops prestigious exporter of the year award

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.

June 5, 2017 Bill
Ward Trade Marks Chocolate Wars

Chocolate wars: bitter and not sweet

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.

May 24, 2017 Bill
rachael ward and client in the office

How the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court works

Rachael’s Bullet Points Courtroom 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 mark litigation. It’s […]

May 15, 2017 Rachael

The Ward Way

For us, 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. The term corporate social […]

May 15, 2017 Bill
Ward Trade Marks

WardWatch is your brand’s guard dog

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.

April 12, 2017 Bill
rachael ward at work

Trouble brewing: BrewDog and the lone Wolf pub

BrewDog objected to a Birmingham pub changing its name from Wolf to Lone Wolf on the basis that it had launched a spirits product of the same name

April 11, 2017 Rachael
Bill and Rachael Ward from Ward Trade Marks with client

Ward Trade Marks 100% registration success rate

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 over the last 12 months. The company, which has over 150 UK and non-UK clients, […]

March 13, 2017 Bill
bill ward with ward trade marks process presentation in client meeting

Do you love your brand enough?

Knowing the value of your brand is vital in delivering long-term commercial success. Increasingly in all walks of life, customers are looking to associate with brands that have a real meaning for them beyond the core business purpose.

March 10, 2017 Bill

Suffolk trade mark specialist bags a hat-trick of new client wins

Suffolk trade mark specialist bags a hat-trick of new client wins Suffolk-based 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 trade mark expertise, […]

February 20, 2017 Bill

‘INTA’ the future

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.

February 13, 2017 Bill
rachael ward at work

Preparing for Brexit

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is close to being invoked and one of the key issues for businesses that either operate in the EU or plan to do so, is how to best protect their intellectual property and especially their trade marks.

February 12, 2017 Rachael

Suffolk trade mark specialist expands to meet growing demand

Cambridgeshire and Suffolk-based 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, strap lines, words and other visual ways of representing a brand. They are a key part of a company’s identity, a symbol of […]

January 19, 2017 Bill

Ward Trade Marks joins Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

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.

January 19, 2017 Bill
bill ward and laurence tunnicliffe talking at panda press hq

Protecting your trade marks

Bill’s Bullets Here are my five top tips for protecting your trade marks – and your business. Firstly, use a specialist trade mark attorney who can properly register your trade mark to give you exclusive rights in the territories within which it is registered. Many business owners believe that their registered company name and domain […]

January 12, 2017 Bill
Ward Trade Marks Oktoberfest Article

City of Munich applies to register OKTOBERFEST as an EUTM

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.

November 21, 2016 Rachael


This article summarises the five main myths (and the truthful answers) that we commonly hear when discussing trade mark protection with business owners.

October 31, 2016 Rachael
ward trademarks top five


Have you ever been annoyed with a supplier because you didn’t get what you thought you were asking for
Have you ever changed suppliers because you felt they didn’t hear you?

October 17, 2016 Rachael


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.

October 10, 2016 Rachael
Watch out! Is a competitor about to register your trade mark?

Watch out! Is a competitor about to register your trade mark?

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.

October 7, 2016 Rachael

Ward Trade Marks Expands Team

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.

October 5, 2016 Rachael
Craft beer image. Ward Trade Marks. Trade Marks.

Want to stand out in a crowded market?

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.

July 27, 2016 Rachael
The hidden dangers of sending trade mark cease and desist letters

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.

June 28, 2016 Rachael

Brexit – what happens now to trade mark rights?

The UK has voted to leave the European Union, and we are therefore looking at what this means for trade mark owners.

June 24, 2016 Rachael


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.

May 25, 2016 Rachael
Monkey "Monkeh" the PG Tips Tea advertising character.Picture by Jamie Mann. Image shot 2012.


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.

March 23, 2016 Rachael

Football, denim and organic clothing: three great brands which reflect their Welsh identity

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.

March 1, 2016 Rachael
The EU Referendum: what it means for trade marks

The EU Referendum: what it means for trade marks

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.

February 25, 2016 Rachael
ward trademarks

Why your trade mark could be worthless and what you need to do about it

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.

February 17, 2016 Rachael
Do trade marks stifle innovation. A close up image of a web URL

Do trade marks stifle innovation?

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.

February 11, 2016 Rachael

Business owners: act fast before March’s CTM fee increase

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.

February 8, 2016 Rachael
friends at pub table holding pints of beer

Three essential steps to prevent your next beer brand being a financial disaster

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.

December 18, 2015 Rachael

Unregistered trade marks – why entrepreneurs need to avoid this mistake

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.

November 13, 2015 Rachael
seven common trade mark mistakes

Seven common mistakes made by trade mark owners

What are the worst things you can do if you’re a trade mark owner? We’ve seen it all over the years, and these are the most common mistakes you must avoid if you want to protect your trade mark and your business.

November 8, 2015 Rachael
tructyre headquarters

How to register your trade mark

When it comes to trade mark registering, there’s so much that needs to be thought of. Here’s our quick guide to trade marks and what you need to consider.

November 3, 2015 Rachael
bill ward and laurence tunnicliffe outside panda press

Five reasons why you should register your trade mark

Many clients ask why they need to register their trade mark, and wonder why they are at a disadvantage by simply using their mark, as opposed to going through the trade mark registration process.

The fact is, if you have chosen a great name, then it’s likely that as your success builds, someone else will think it’s a great name too. The risks of not registering are real. If you don’t register your trade mark, then someone else can…

October 28, 2015 Rachael

Pros and Cons of Community Trade Mark Registration

A Community Trade Mark (CTM) is a single trade mark registration that provides protection in all of the member states of the European Union. CTMs are dealt with by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Spain, and over 117,000 applications were filed last year.

If you conduct business in the UK only, then a national registration is for you, and we can advise separately in this respect. If, however, you do business in more than one EU country, it is wise to consider filing for a CTM. This article sets out the pros and cons of doing so.

October 22, 2015 Rachael
question mark sign what should i do

What should I do if I receive a cease and desist letter?

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.

October 13, 2015 Rachael
diy disaster man fallen through ceiling

The Problems with DIY Trade Mark Registration

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.

October 1, 2015 Rachael
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