Trade Marks

What is a trade mark?

A trademark is something that distinguishes your goods from those of your competitors. This can be a logo, words, an image or a combination of these.

Benefits of trade marks

A trademark is often used as a marketing tool by businesses to encourage customers to differentiate their product or service from similar offerings.

What can I trade mark?

Before you even consider applying for a trade mark it is important you do a little research to see if what your looking to trademark can actually be trade marked.

Here are a few things to consider to reduce the chances of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) rejecting your application for a trade mark:

  • Is your trademark a word, phrase, logo or picture that clearly distinguishes your goods or services from your competition?
  • Is your trade mark unlikely to be seen as a trade mark by a member of the public?
  • Does your trade mark describe your goods or services or any of their characteristics? A trademark such as ‘tastyfood’ which simply joins together words describing the quality of your goods is unlikely to be accepted.
  • Is your trade mark used frequently by other traders in your line of business e.g ’24 hours a day’. Trademarks that are not seen as distinctive by the IPO are rejected.

Another thing to look for is whether or not another trader has applied to register or already registered a trade mark that is very similar to yours? If they have they may oppose your trade mark preventing you form registering it.

Registering a trade mark

The steps for registering a trademark are as follows:

  • Your application is submitted to the IPO.
  • The IPO confirm they have received it by sending you a receipt.
  • An examiner checks your application and sends you a report with their findings.
  • If the examiner has no objections or you can overcome the objections your application will be published in the Trade Mark Journal.
  • Once the application is advertised in the Trade Mark Journal there is a period of two months for anyone to oppose your trade mark.
  • If no one challenges the registration of your trademark or you are able to overcome any objections your trade mark will be registered and you will receive a trademark registration certificate.