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Five reasons why you should register your trade mark

Why do I need to register my trade mark?

Many clients ask this question, 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.

It pays to register at the outset for relatively minimal expense, as opposed to trying to sort out costly problems down the line through legal action.

The top five reasons why you should register your trade mark:

1) An exclusive right

A trade mark registration is an exclusive right to use the mark in the territory in which protection is granted. You may sue other parties for trade mark infringement if they use your mark without your permission.
Trade marks must be renewed every 10 years in the UK. If they are renewed at the appropriate time, you have a right which lasts in perpetuity.

2) To avoid the uncertainty and expense of passing off

If you do not register your trade mark, it is still possible to take action against another party on the basis of ‘passing off’. This is a common law right, and to be successful you must prove:

  • You have goodwill/ reputation in the mark
  • The other party has made a misrepresentation
  • This has caused you damage.

Unlike trade mark infringement, where you can point to the existence of a registration certificate as proof of your rights, passing off is difficult and therefore costly to prove. Such actions are potentially far beyond the budget of most companies. You may find that if you cannot enforce your name, you may have to give it up, perhaps after years of trading.

Your rights through passing off may be confined to your local area, where you have been using your mark. You may have a great reputation in Kent, but that will not necessarily enable you to stop someone else using the mark in Wales. Registration of a trade mark, on the other hand, is on a national basis (or across the European Union, if you have a Community Trade mark).

3) To add value to your business

A trade mark is your intellectual property and is a tradable commodity. It has value. You can:

  • Sell it. It’s a more attractive proposition to investors and potential buyers of your company, if you have taken steps to protect your rights
  • Licence it. A trade mark licence allows a mark to be used by another party, thereby extending your business
  • Franchise it. You can set up a network of franchisees, with guidelines as to how your brand should be used
  • Mortgage it. A trade mark may be used as security for a loan.

A trade mark adds credibility, which enables greater sales, and increased profits.

4) Trade marks identify origin

One of the main purposes of a trade mark is to prevent confusion in the marketplace. Your trade mark tells your customers who you are, and where to return to if they like your product.

Your brand is a valuable marketing and advertising tool. It sets you apart, especially if your competitors are producing inferior or defective products.

5) Counterfeit goods

Having a trade mark registration helps Trading Standards Officers or the police to bring charges against counterfeiters if they are using your trade mark.

Ward Trade Marks, will guide you through each stage of the trade mark registration process, so you can protect and optimise the value of your brand. We’re happy to help, so please contact us at [email protected] or call us on 01223 421779.

October 28, 2015 Rachael