Trademark FAQs

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What is a trademark?

Quite simply, a trademark is a sign such as a word, phrase or logo (and a few others) that identifies your goods or services to customers. Examples are:

Word – Coca Cola

Phrase – “the real thing”

Logo –  cocacola

What is a registered trademark?

A registered trademark is what you have once you register the sign (word, phase or logo) by which customers recognise you. It is the way to secure ownership rights in your name and logo. The details of all registered trademarks are kept on a public register which others are expected to avoid using when selecting signs for their business or project.

What can I register as a trademark?

A sign must be capable of functioning as a trademark in order to be registered, and must:

  • Be distinctive for your goods or services
  • Not describe your goods or services
  • Not mislead or offend people
  • Not be a protected emblem, such as national flags or official state signs
  • Not to be similar to earlier trademarks which cover the same or similar goods or services

Why do I need a trademark search?

A search will help identify if there are any similar trademarks which are already registered. It is a way of managing the risk of infringing on someone else’s rights.

The type of search you need will depend on many factors such as your attitude to risk, your chosen name, and your plans for the business.

What names make good trademarks?

Names that are unique to your business, especially made up words. Think of names:

  • That don’t describe your goods or services
  • Are easy to pronounce and spell
  • That don’t limit your future plans for the business

Here are some good examples:

  • Coca-Cola
  • Google
  • eBay
  • And of course, Azrights

Can I register my logo?

Registering a logo involves the same application process as as word mark, although if you also want to search the image or font then there are additional search fees to pay.

What should I register, my word or logo?

It’s best to register both separately if you can, although this will cost double the amount.

Protecting the name itself is a priority, although for some businesses it is also essential to protect the logo. It is possible to register a combined mark as a fist step.

What are trademark classes?

There are 45 trademark classes. Some cover goods and some cover services. You should have a think what the future plans are for this business, and select the classes relevant to those plans.

What happens if someone objects to my trademark?

Either the trademark registry or another party may object your mark. This could be for a number of reasons. If this does happen, you can either challenge the objection or withdraw your application.

In most cases there is a further cost in challenging the objection.

What is the difference between a UK trademark and an EU trademark?

Trademarks are territorial, which means they must be registered in specific countries or regions. Protection will only be given in the country the trademark is registered in.

An EU trademark will cover you for all 28 countries within the European Union, including the UK. The cost is slightly higher due to the higher official fees.

How long will my application take?

Provided there are no complications, applications for UK trademarks take about 5 months to process. EU applications can take twice as long.

How long will my trademark last?

A registered trademark lasts for 10 years. You can then renew it as many time as you like. You must make sure the mark is being used for the goods and services it covers. If not, after 5 years it may be revoked (or cancelled).