What is a trademark?

A trademark is a sign, such as a word, logo or other symbol which you use consistently so that consumers can identify your goods and services and tell them apart from those of your competitors. Without trademarks, it would be impossible to find the products and services we like and to avoid those we don’t.

What is a logo trademark?

A logo trademark is either a name written in a distinctive font, such as the Coca Cola typescript, or it’s a symbol such as the Nike swoosh, or it is a combined mark featuring both a word, and a logo, such as the well known MGM (Metro Goldwyn Mayer) lion that roars just before certain films begin.

What do the ® and TM symbols mean?

The sign ® means you have a registered trademark while the TM symbol means you are using a word or symbol in a trademark sense. This does not necessarily mean your claim is a valid one. For example, it may not be a word that is capable of being trademarked, or someone else may have better rights over the word.

What is the benefit of trademarking a name or logo?

Although a trademark protects your name or logo, the effect of registering a trademark is to protect the business itself because competitors who try to copy you if you’re successful will generally use similar names or logos to yours to steal some of your market share. If your name is legally effective and distinctive, it will be much easier for you to stop such unfair competitive practices.

If I register for only one class, can I extend the application to other classes later?

You will need to file a fresh application to extend your trademark into further classes.

What are trademark classes?

Trademarks are registered against specific classes of goods and services. This means the same name can be shared by a few businesses provided they are not competitors. For example, POLO for clothing, or cars, or confectionery, and GALAXY for chocolate or cars. View a list of the 45 different trademark classes here: Trademark Classes.

If I register my logo for one class of goods or services will someone else be able to register a similar logo for a different kind of product or service?

Yes, as a general rule they are able to do so. This is why it is important to file in as many classes as are necessary to cover all the different products or services you currently provide or which you intend to provide.

How do I know how many classes I need when I buy my trademark?

Most businesses will need 3 classes, but you can buy one class initially. You can add classes at any point before we file your trade mark application. Once registered it is not possible to buy and add further classes to your registration. You will need to file a fresh application.

What happens if I change my logo after I have registered it?

You will need to file a fresh application.

What happens if anyone objects to my mark?

If either the trademark registry itself or anyone else raises objections to your application, you may try to resolve the challenge by arguing your case (setting additional budgets to do so). Alternatively, you may withdraw your application.

Can you help me if I want trademark protection in the US?

Yes, we would file your US application either through our local agents in USA, or through the Madrid system.

How long is my application likely to take?

Applications for UK trademarks take about 5 months to process, while CTM (European) applications can take double that time. The time taken depends on the Registry’s workload.

What is the difference between a UK trademark and a CTM?

Trademarks are territorial. This means they provide protection in the countries in which you register them. A UK mark will protect you in the UK but not in France. On the other hand a CTM (European trademark) protects you throughout the whole of the European Union, including the UK.

Will I receive a refund if my application fails?

If the trademark application is unsuccessful no refunds are available so before you sign off your application remember that it will not be possible to change your application once it’s filed.

What searches do you perform before filing my trademark application?

There is our free search tool. If you want more of an idea whether your application may face hurdles, then add an evaluation when purchasing a trademark.

Why do I need a trademark search?

We advise you have an evaluation rather than relying purely on the free search so as to receive a professional opinion. Trademark searching is essentially a risk management exercise. The more extensive the searches you have, the fewer the risks, and the fewer surprises you will have during the trademark registration process. The starting point if you want to reduce your risks is to commission an evaluation.

Does the search guarantee that my mark will be registered?

No. The evaluation provides an opinion on the identical search results. There are many other searches it is possible to have, such as to identify similar marks, perhaps words spelt in different ways. The more you are willing to pay to have searches carried out for you, the lower your risk of a failed application. The trademark process involves a number of steps such as the examiner’s report and third parties who may oppose the application. Therefore it is not possible to guarantee that a mark will be registered because there is no way anyone can be 100% sure. Trademarks are inherently risky, and much depends on the attitude of other trademark owners. However, an evaluation should indicate whether there are obvious risks, including whether further searches may be desirable, so as to help you manage any risks.

How long does my trademark last?

Trademarks last 10 years, and may continue indefinitely, on the payment of renewal fees every 10 years. However, you must ensure that you do not allow the mark to remain unused for a continuous period of 5 years during the life of the mark.

I’ve received an email warning me that someone is trying to register my trademark as a domain name, what should I do?

Generally speaking such emails are thinly disguised attempts to secure new business by domain registration companies. They will alert you to an alleged attempt to register your trademark as a domain name to find out whether you are interested in buying the domain yourself, in which case there is a risk that they will register it themselves with a view to selling it back to you for an inflated price. Our approach is to ignore such emails, and not respond. If you are actually interested to secure domain names, use a reputable service. We have links with such services and are able to register domains worldwide so if you’re interested submit an enquiry.

I’ve received an invoice from an official body relating to my trademark, but I thought I had already paid

A word of warning is that the trademark registers are public and your name and address are on file. Therefore, once we file your trademark application, you are likely to receive official looking invoices emanating from various companies. These are actually often simply offering their services, so don’t pay unintentionally, believing it to be a genuine fee request. We settle all fees on your behalf when we file your trademark. So, if you receive an invoice or approach from anyone other than us in relation to your trademark, don’t make any payments.

All the authorities are doing their best to introduce warnings to the public, and until companies put in place measures to ensure these ‘invoices’ are never paid, third parties will continue to send official looking invoices.