What is the publication period?
There are a number of stages to a trade mark application, many of which are not regularly explained.
A stage included in this, is the publication stage.
Every trade mark application made to the UK Intellectual Property Office is subject to a publication stage.
While the party who has submitted the application takes minimal steps during this time, effort at the beginning of the process can make this time an easier wait.
The publication stage, in short, is a chance for existing trade mark owners to ensure their rights are protected by submitting an objection to the UK IPO stating that the mark in question is substantially similar or identical to their own registered mark. This will allow them to block your application if the UK IPO agrees. Any UK mark that is similar or identical to the application will receive a notification from the UK IPO from the beginning of the publication period.
There is a limited period for them to do this but this does not stop them from taking action after this period. If they do not take notice of the notification from the UK IPO at the time, later on they can submit an application which will deem your then registered mark as invalid. As they will have evidence that they registered the mark before you, they will have an easy time proving that their rights prevail over yours.
You can have a relatively smooth and worry free publication period, however if you have completed a full search before you submit your application. This will indicate any marks that may be notified by the UK IPO of your application. You then have the time to amend your mark before putting in for a formal application scrutiny.
For more information, contact The Trademarkroom for the expert advice and guidance on the best way to apply for a trade mark.
By Ellis Sweetenham