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 create your marketing materials.
All of that adds up to a significant investment.
So what about trade mark registration?
Well, you have three choices:
- Don’t bother
- Do it yourself
- Hire a trade mark attorney
What happens if I don’t register my trade mark?
In simple terms, if you don’t register your trade mark, someone else can. As a result, your business/product/service could be placed in severe jeopardy.
Plus, registration also gives you a cause of action under statute (Trade Marks Act 1994), allowing you (if successful) to claim damages etc. Your only course of action with an unregistered trade mark is to rely on passing off.
Registration secures your brand and gives you legal recourse to prevent someone else riding on the back of your business and reputation.
Can I register my trade mark myself?
You could; you could also build your website but you probably won’t because it’s deemed too technical to handle on your own. You’re not an expert in coding, SEO or design and you don’t want to risk getting it wrong.
That’s the type of logic you should also apply to trade mark registrationbecause it’s not as straightforward as you might presume.
As you would expect, you will have to pay a filing fee. If you complete your application form inaccurately or file it incorrectly, you’ll forfeit that fee. If you try again, you’ll have to stump up the fee a second time.
What could you get wrong?
For starters, there are 45 classes of goods and services to choose from. Pick the wrong one, and your registration will fail.
Plus, if you don’t use your mark for the class selected within five years of registration, your trade mark could be challenged and potentially revoked.
On top of that, competitors also have the opportunity to oppose your application as part of the registration process. If this happens, it will be left to you to defend it. If you don’t your application will be viewed as abandoned and you could be liable to pay third party costs.
Then you have to consider whether you should be applying for a UK or EU trade mark.
The whole application process takes several months to complete. If you mess up, you’ll have to start all over again leaving your brand unprotected.
Hire a trade mark attorney
That brings us to your third option.
If you hire a good trade mark attorney who knows what they’re doing, you will be able to avoid all the pitfalls outlined above by:
- Completing your application right first time lowering the risk of rejection and saving re-application costs
- Filing your application correctly means registering your trade markpromptly, guaranteeing protection from infringement as soon as possible
- Offering advice on which class to select decreases the rejection risk of your application
- Helping you decide whether a UK or EU trade mark is best for your business
Trade mark registration is essential
Registering your trade mark from the outset is vital if you want to protect your business.
Registering your trade mark is investing in your business’s future. Don’t leave the protection of your reputation to chance. For timely and reliable protection you need a professional who knows what they’re doing.
Ward Trade Marks Limited is a Bury St Edmunds based specialist trade mark attorney firm.