The main reason for registering a brand as a trade mark is to get protection against imitation. You would be able to take legal action for any unauthorised use of your product or service.
This guide explains how to apply to register a trade mark and what fees you need to pay. Check out the legalities of using the ® symbol and how to respond if someone opposes the application.
There are three basic steps to registering a trade mark in United Kingdom:
Owning a UK registered trade mark means you would be able to:
Note: Providing no one makes an objection the trade mark registration process takes around four (4) months to complete. United Kingdom registered trade marks last for a period of ten (10) years.
If you register a trade mark in the UK, you would only get brand protection inside the United Kingdom. But, there are several different processes for protecting intellectual property abroad.
After applying to register a trade mark with the IPO you would not be able to change it and any fees paid would be non-refundable. The information you need to provide includes:
Using the 'Right Start' service is the best way to ensure an application meets trade mark rules on registration. The initial cost is £100 and £50 for each extra class. You would receive a report informing you whether the application meets the rules.
Note: You would need to pay the full fee within fourteen (14) days of getting the report if you choose to continue with the application.
You can continue through the application process even if your details fail to meet the initial rules on registration.
The Intellectual Property Office produce a list of trade mark forms and fees if you prefer to apply by post. The fee is £200 for one class plus an extra £50 for each additional class.
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) would notify the applicant if someone opposes it. If this happens, you would have several options, such as:
You must settle the matter before you can register your trade mark. In some cases, you may need to pay legal costs to formally challenge an opposing party.
Note: If you are opposed, conducting some research on previous trade mark decisions can help you to handle a dispute and prepare for a hearing.
You would need to use Form TM21A to record a change of name, physical address, or email address of the trade mark owner. There is a set process to object and challenge someone else's trade mark if you feel that they are similar (or identical) to yours.
Keeping registrations accurate and current is the responsibility of UK registered trade marks owners. Thus, you must update or surrender your registered trade marks with the IPO as and when it becomes necessary.
Note: As a rule, registered trade marks last for a period of ten (10) years. You can renew your trade mark up to six (6) months before it expires. You can also choose to license, market, or sell it.
Common law torts may help you stop others from using a similar trade mark to yours on their goods and services. For example, passing off and trade mark infringement can occur even if yours is unregistered.
Even so, it can be much more difficult to prove passing off than it would be to defend a registered trade mark. As a rule, success would depend on whether you can show:
Note: It is wise to get legal advice from a trade mark attorney if you want to enforce your trade mark rights.
How to Register a Trade Mark in United Kingdom