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Trade mark - intellectual property law

Trade marks are used to distinguish the product or service of one seller from another. They can be wording, taglines or slogans, logos, shapes, and even colours or sounds. Registering a trade mark gives the owner an exclusive right to its use. For a British trademark fees are required every 10 years to keep a trademark in force. 

Trade marks are registered within specific categories known as 'classes', of which there are 45 to select from. Classes 1- 34 are dedicated to the categorisation of goods and classes 35-45 are dedicated to categorising services. These categories are very specific and can require a brand to register within multiple classes. For instance, a homeware brand would need to register their cutlery under Class 8, which encompasses hand operated implements, their kettles under Class 11 which covers electrical apparatus for cooking, their aprons under Class 25 which covers clothing, footwear and headgear, and so on.

It is possible for other sellers to register marks that are similar or even identical to pre-existing marks as long the marks are in different, unconnected classes. For example  ‘Dove Soap’ is owned by Unilever Ltd. and ‘Dove Chocolate’, which is owned by Mars Company, can coexist as their trade mark 'Dove' may be the same, but their products fall into two different distinct classes.



Click here to read about a football club has been told to stop using both its name and initials as a result of failing to register their trade marks.

Click here to read about the issues you will encounter when using someone else’s trademark. 

For information on trade mark symbols, read our blog!



Return to intellectual property law glossary here.