Registration Of A Trademark

Registering a trademark has a number of benefits, most notably that no one else is legally allowed to use that trademark without your permission.

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By Isabella Mayer - 21st June 2022

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If you want to register a trademark in the UK, you must make an applicatio to the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). Registering a trademark ensures that no one else can use it without your permission. If they do, you can pursue action for trademark infringement.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a type of intellectual property. Specifically, a trademark is a word, name, symbol, colour, sound or other device used to indicate the source or origin of goods and distinguish the goods of one party from those of another.

This is quite a complex definition, so it's best illustrated with an example. Consider Nike, the well-known sports apparel brand. The company has various different trademarks, including the name, the ‘swoosh’ tick, and the slogan ‘Just Do It’. All of these things are trademarks: they indicate that a particular item is a Nike product. They also distinguish the goods from those of another, such as Adidas or Puma.

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Registered trademarks

Trademarks are either registered or non-registered. A non-registered trademark is when you come up with a trademark, such as a logo, and use it in the day-to-day running of your business. A registered trademark is when you proactively register this trademark with an official authority. In the UK is the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).

Registering a trademark has a number of benefits, most notably that no one else is legally allowed to use that trademark without your permission. If they do, you can pursue a claim for trademark infringement. This protects your brand, as other businesses cannot mimic it.

If you do not register a trademark and someone else uses it without your permission, then the position is more complicated. You may be able to pursue a passing off action, which is when you make a civil claim against the business using your trademark. This is based on the legal principle that “a man is not to sell his own goods under the pretence that they are the goods of another man” (Perry v Truefitt (1842). However, these claims can be costly and hard to prove.

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How to register a trademark

If you want to register a trademark in the UK, then you need to make an application to the UKIPO. You can do this on the government website. Once the application has been made the trademark cannot be changed and the fees are non-refundable.

Following the application, you will receive an examination report within 20 working days. This provides feedback on whether the application meets the rules. If you receive no objections then the application will be published in the trademarks journal for two to three months. This enables a third party to make an observation of the trademark and object if they believe it is their right to do so. If the application is opposed, you should review the commentary and seek advice if necessary.

Provided the application is successful, the trademark will be registered approximately two weeks following the end of the opposition period. Following this registration date, a certificate will be issued. A trademark registration lasts for 10 years, after which renewal fees are due.

Want to register a trademark?

If you would like to register a trademark, or your trademark has been met with opposition, please contact our Company Law Solicitors at Aticus Law. We specialise in trademark registration and can help you at each and every stage of the process.

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