UK trade marks v EU trade marks
When you are looking to register a trade mark, it can be quite daunting with a lot of important decisions you need to get right.
A key decision you need to make is where are you going to register your mark?
As a UK business, your first thought would be just in the UK but as your business grows you may want to expand further throughout the EU therefore maybe registering your mark as a community trade mark may be the best course of action
A trade mark registered in the UK is done through the UK Intellectual Property Office. When you submit your application it will be the UK IPO who will consider it and decide whether it is fit for registration. An application for the registration of one mark for one class of goods or service carries a fee of £200. This amount is relatively small in the grand scheme of things and offers you protection from any infringement that takes place in the UK. However, you are not protected elsewhere. If you are confident that your business will only be operating in the UK, then this is the level of protection for you. It is a cost effective way to protect your brand and make it clear to others that you are serious about your intellectual property.
On the flip side, if you know that expansion into other European countries is a future option, it may be worth protecting your brand across the EU now to prevent others registering it first and jeopardising any expansion. To gain protection across all 28 member states in the European Union, you need to apply for a Community Trade Mark. This application with be dealt with by the Office of Harmonisation of the Internal Market (OHIM) and carries a fee of €900 for a standard application. While this may sound expensive, you are effectively doing 28 trade mark registrations through one application and gaining protection across all of those countries.
Therefore, when deciding where you should register your mark, you need to look at the bigger picture and decide whether further registration beyond the UK would benefit you.
For further guidance and advice, please contact Jane at The Trademarkroom
By Ellis Sweetenham