Trade marking plays an essential role in protecting your business, preventing competitors from copying your name and stealing your customers as a result.
How to Register a Trade Mark for Your Business
To protect your brand, you can register your trade mark. This may include the name of your business, a product name, an illustration or a slogan.
By registering your trade mark, you will be able to sell and license your brand, put the ® symbol next to your brand which should warn others against using it and take legal action if someone uses your brand without your permission. For this reason, your trade mark must be unique.
Once you have applied you cannot change your trade mark, and for this reason it is very important to read the guide to new applications before you start. After sending off your application, you will receive a report telling you if your application meets the rules.
Trade Mark a Business – What You Can and Can’t Register
There are various different things you can and can’t trade mark for businesses. It’s important to be aware of these dos and don’ts before going through with registering a trade mark.
Your trade mark can include:
- a combination of any of these
Your trade mark can’t:
- be offensive
- describe the goods or services it will relate to
- be misleading
- be a 3-dimensional shape associated with your trade mark
- be too common and non-distinctive
- look too similar to state symbols like flags or hallmarks
How to Check If a Trade Mark Has Already Been Used
Check if your trademark is already registered by search the trade marks database before sending off your application.
If there is an existing trade mark holder, you can ask permission to register yours by giving you a ‘letter of consent‘ which will then be sent off with your application. To help you with this process, you can use a trade mark attorney.
Understanding Trade Mark Classes
To register a trade mark business name, you have to choose the class of goods and service that you want your trademark to cover. There are 45 different trademark classes with 11 covering services and 34 covering goods and products.
To review the class list, you can click here and if you are unsure of which class you fall into you can use this link to help you. Each class has a broad heading explaining what is covered in that specific class.
It is important to choose the correct class or classes because once you film your application you cannot add more classes . For this reason, plan ahead, think about how you may want your brand to grow during the 10 years of which your trademark lasts. This will come you time and money in the future, however if the trademark is not used for five years is can be revoked.
How Much Does Trade Marking a Business Cost?
The initial costs for trade marking are £100 plus £50 for each additional class. A series application for three or more marks costs an additional £50 per mark.
If you want to continue after receiving the report telling you that your application meets the rule, you have 14 days to pay the full fee. It’s worth noting that fees are non-refundable.
Even if your application does not meet the rules for registration, you can choose to continue.
|Type of application||Fee||Each additional class|
|Right Start (online)||£200 (£100 up front plus £100 if you go ahead with your registration)||£50 (£25 up front plus £25 if you go ahead with your registration)|
You can pay by deposit account, credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Maestro), cheque or bank transfer.
What Happens After Applying for a Trade Mark?
After applying for a trade mark, you should receive feedback within 5 to 15 days. If there are no objections, your application will be published in the trade mark journal for 2 months, during which time anyone can oppose it.
If there are no objections after these 2 months, your trade mark will be registered and you will receive a certificate.
What Happens If Someone Opposes My Trade Mark Application?
The Intellectual Property Office will tell you if someone opposes your application for a trade mark. If this is the case, you can withdraw your application, speak to the person opposing (which may require legal costs) or defend your application.
Whilst you can undertake various actions with those opposing your trade mark application, it’s worth noting you will not be able to register again for the trade mark until the matter is settled.
To help you with a dispute, prepare for your hearing and research previous trade mark decisions.
What Happens Once Your Trade Mark Is Registered?
Once the trade mark for your business is registered, you must report any changes to your name, address or email address. Alongside this, you can also benefit from the following features:
- You can object to other people’s trade marks.
- You can sell, market, license and mortgage your trade mark.
- You have 10 years before you need to renew your trademark.
- You can sell, trade or use your trade mark as security on loans or mortgages.
When your trade mark is registered, you will need to actively enforce it by keeping watch on other unauthorised uses of it.