Why should you register a trade mark? What are the benefits? What happens if you don’t register a name or a mark/logo that you have been using for some time and somebody else uses it? And what if that party proceeds to have it registered as a trade mark? If you are involved in running ANY business then YOU should be concerned about these issues! In a series of blogs we are going set out some benefits and reasons to register a trade mark.
Exclusive Right to use your Mark
Once a trade mark is registered you have the exclusive right to use that mark for the goods and/or services in which it has been registered in the countries in which it is registered. We can assist you in obtaining a registration in the UK or Europe wide. When you apply to register a trade mark you have to apply to register it in respect of ‘Classes’ and you may want to register in more than one ‘Class’. These ‘Classes’ are essentially descriptions of areas in which you provide your goods or services. So, for example if you were selling cutlery or razors you would be registering your mark in Class 8; or you were providing electronically downloadable publications this would be registered in Class 9. You may also be selling additional goods and/or providing additional services and these would need to be included in the other appropriate Classes. The parameters surrounding what should be registered in which Class are set out by the Intellectual Property Office (the body responsible for granting or refusing an application of a trade mark in the UK).
Once you have decided upon a name for your ‘brand’ or a logo you should consider registering it as a trade mark to gain the benefit of the ‘exclusive use’. However, if you have been operating with a brand name or logo for a number of years you may still be able to register it as a trade mark (you may also still have rights in the name– see later blog on ‘passing off’).
There are some rules to registration of a trade mark and some of the basics are that the mark cannot be descriptive of the products you sell or the goods you provide (so you need to consider that if you are still pondering your brand name!).
Once you have overcome any obstacles to the registration of your trade mark and you have received confirmation that your mark is now ‘Registered’ you will be the only person/entity entitled to use that Mark in those Classes. The additional benefit of registering your trade mark is that once you have done so you can, register it indefinitely. The oldest trade mark the Bass Red Triangle logo dates back to 1876. In order to keep your mark registered you will need to renew it every 10 years.
We have registered the mark ‘Waterfront’ in a variety of classes, which detail the services we provide and that gives us the exclusive right to use the mark Waterfront within the UK in respect of those services!
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In the recently published post Waterfront Law – The IPEC Guide, we highlighted the “costs cap” as a feature of IPEC that is of real benefit to litigants. This is because a party can be confident that, should it lose in IPEC on liability (i.e. usually the decision…