What is a trademark?

A trade mark is a badge of origin. It may be a word, logo, strapline or even a colour, shape or sound.

Trade marks are a valuable business asset. Your trade marks and brands are what differentiate your business from your competitors. Upon seeing your trade marks, consumers link them to your business. Hence, your trade mark is synonymous with your business’ reputation, goodwill and image. If your business has spent a large amount of time and money in advertising and promoting its brand, you should secure a registered trade mark to protect your brand and investment.

A registered trade mark provides your business with the exclusive right to use that mark for the goods and services for which it is registered. It also has the following benefits:

  • Registering a trade mark puts third parties on notice of your business’s rights.
  • Most countries operate a first to file system and registration of the trade mark acts as proof of those rights
  • Although rights in a unregistered brand can be accrued through use of the mark, such use must be significant and it is much more difficult and costly to enforce
  • Registering a trade mark is more likely to deter third parties from using your mark or something similar
  • A registered trade mark is an asset which can be sold or licensed and which can be listed in the balance sheet as a business asset

As soon as you know which trade mark your business wants to use. A trade mark does not already have to be in use to apply, although in certain jurisdictions you may need to proof use of the trade mark before it can be registered. In fact it is very important to have the interest in the trade mark registered as soon as possible to prevent a third party beating you to it.

As there are multiple procedures during any trade mark application, it is difficult to predict with any certainty the duration of the entire process through to registration. However, barring any official objection or opposition from third parties, we would expect a UK trade mark application to be registered within 4 months whilst an EU trade mark application can take around 6 months.

So long as your trade mark is still in use, it remains valid for 10 years following registration. It is possible to renew your trade mark for 10 year periods indefinitely thereafter for as long as it is of interest to your business. The oldest registered trade mark, the Bass triangle, dates back to 1865 and is still prominently used today.

The serious downside in doing your own legal work, without professional help, is that you may not do the job correctly and could also incur unnecessary costs. You get no insight into whether a brand is suitable for registration or whether you may be infringing on the trade mark rights of a third party.

A further downside to applying for a trade mark yourself is that you do not get a legal opinion on the suitability of your trade mark and scope of protection required in relation to your business plans.

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How can we help you with Trademarks?

Tidman Legal specialises in trade mark registration in a simple, proactive and cost-effective way. We will work with you to protect your brand name, logo, company name and corporate identity. We will overcome any legal problems and support you throughout the entire brand development and protection process. Our trade mark services include:

  • IP Audit and Trade Mark Strategy
  • Brand Clearance
  • Trade Mark Registration
  • Assignments and Changes of Name
  • Infringement and Validity Opinions
  • Oppositions, Revocations, Invalidity and Appeals
  • Brand Licensing Agreements
  • Coexistence Agreements
  • Sponsorship Agreements
  • Watching Services

If you would like further information on our trade mark services or would like us to review your current brand protection arrangements, contact us for an initial free chat and brand clearance search.

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For more information, or for an informal chat about your legal requirements, contact us now for a confidential no obligation discussion.

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