Do I need to file a trademark to protect my brand?
The purchasing decisions of consumers are constantly influenced by trademarks. As a business person or corporate executive, it is important to have a solid understanding of why trademarks are so important to effective commerce.
In most countries trade mark registration is the quickest and cheapest way to ensure legal exclusivity for the use of your name. In the UK you can get “common law” rights just by using a name in trade BUT (i) it takes a long time to acquire the rights (ii) the scope of the rights is usually unclear (iii) it does not stop someone else using or registering your name and (iv) it is usually prohibitively expensive to stop someone else stealing your name.
For these reasons it is strongly advised that you should always register your business names and brands as trademarks. However, there is a procedure which should be followed in order to make sure the application process runs as smoothly as possible.
Firstly, you need to decide what kind of trade mark you wish to register. You must keep in mind that your mark must not describe your product or service directly, for example “great cleaner”. It must not mislead customers as to the nature of your goods or services, and it must not conflict with a trade mark which has already been registered by someone else. Therefore, the main thing to keep in mind is to make sure that your mark is unique and as distinctive as possible. By doing so, the application process should be a very smooth operation and it will also allow you to build up goodwill in a name which will not be able to be replicated.
You also need to be sure that the proposed trade mark meets the legal definition in the 1994 Trade Marks Act which reads:
“a trade mark is any sign capable of being represented graphically which is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings”.
In addition, you will need to be clear exactly what you are registering your trade mark for. For example, if you have recently began the start-up of a new clothing company but are also thinking that in the future you may branch out into watches and jewellery then it would be necessary to register your brand name under those two separate classes – (class 14 for jewellery and watches and class 25 for clothing, footwear and headgear).
If you are reading this article and it has come to your addition that your business or brand has absolutely no trade mark protection, or that your brand is partially unprotected due to new developments in your business etc, then please get in contact with The Trademarkroom for a personable service provided at highly competitive price.