UK, EU or International trademark?
Trade marks can be registered solely in the UK, throughout the European Union or internationally outside of the EU. The best place to register will depend on where your business operates and what your plans are for the future.
If your business operates in the UK and you have no plans to operate in Europe or further afield then a UK trade mark registration is the best option. It is worth noting that a UK trade mark does not protect the use of that mark throughout the European Community, so it may be worthwhile registering a European trade mark if you feel you may be interested in expanding to Europe in the future. If, however, you wish to seek European protection within six months of filing your UK, then the EU application will be treated as though it had been applied for on the same day as the UK application.
A trade mark spanning the European Union can also be applied for, which will offer protection across Europe. A Community Trade Mark (CTM) allows for a single application to be filed and makes it significantly quicker, easier and more affordable than applying to each country individually. The advantage of this is that it will prevent any business offering the same goods or services from registering an identical or similar mark and will give you the freedom to expand your business without the worry of unforeseen competitors benefitting from your hard work and investment.
If you are looking to operate outside of the EU then there are several options available to you. If you are only seeking to operate in a single jurisdiction, for example the United States, then it may be worthwhile applying for registration solely within that country. Alternatively, you can apply to register your trade mark under the Madrid Protocol, which means it would apply across all of the countries who are signatories to the agreement. International applications require you to hold a UK application upon which your application will be based.