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.