Which trade mark is right for you?
There are a number of different trade marks established, all with differing benefits and disadvantages. It may not be clear exactly what trade mark registration may be right for you but this guide will briefly explain them to you so you can have a better understanding of your options.
UK Trade mark
As the name suggests this is a mark registered in the UK. This can be a logo, word or phrase, even a combination of the three, and will only have the ability to be protected within the UK. Dealt with by the UK Intellectual Property Office, this is a relatively inexpensive way of protecting your brand so as long as you are only based in Britain.
European Union Trade Mark
Previously known as a Community Trade Mark, the newly revolutionised EU system is now dealt with by the European Union Intellectual Property Office. An EU trade mark can be the same form as a UK trade mark but will be registered to have protection throughout all 28 member states of the EU. Due to its wide stretching nature, it does have a higher fee attached but would be worth it if your business has a good prospect of expansion throughout Europe.
International Trade Mark
Another step up from the EU trade mark, this can have protection over a wider area allowing you to gain complete protection of your trade mark. Applications are submitted through the Madrid System which contacted other bodies on your behalf to submit a number of applications at once. For example you could submit an application to the European Union Intellectual Property Office and the African Intellectual Property Organisation at the same time. For this high level of protection, a big commitment financially is needed.
A certification mark differs from those explained above as it does not solely indicate the origin of the goods or services. A certification mark is applied for when a level of guarantee in relation to the goods or services the mark represents are of a certain standard of quality is required. This mark will be particularly useful to those in industries where quality can have a big impact on their success. Examples of certification marks can include ‘100% cotton’ on clothing or ‘organic’ on foodstuffs.
A collective mark would be applied for if the mark originates from a specified group rather than an individual trader. The group would be a trade association in which a number of parties would be involved in. An example of a collective mark is that held by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This allows any law firm to indicate that they are a member of the Authority by using the collective mark on their correspondence, either their letter headings or on their website.
For more guidance and advice on which trade mark may be best for you, contact The Trademarkroom team.
By Ellis Sweetenham