News & Opinion
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, but 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
No, we haven’t made that up – 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 […]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 of anywhere. And doing business in China without registering your trade mark is extremely risky. Conquering the East may not be in your immediate […]READ MORE
Before talking about intellectual property, 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 talent […]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
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 the public, all of which can be […]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: In a recent opposition […]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 UK) trade mark law, a trade mark registration may be revoked on […]READ MORE
What is an EU Trade Mark? A European Union 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 […]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 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 […]READ MORE
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 […]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
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, […]READ MORE
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, […]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
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 […]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 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 […]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
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
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…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