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How do I protect my Brand – Trademark registration?

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Do I need to trademark my logo? Should I speak to someone about trademark registration?

You now have your treasured logo and you are trading with it. It is working very well for your business and your sales are increasing. What happens if a competitor starts to use a logo that is similar to yours? Have you thought about this scenario and what you could do to prevent anyone else doing this and putting your sales at risk?

The safest way to protect your brand and your sales is to register your trademark as copyrighted mark with the Intellectual Property office. This is called trademark registration. This gives you the protection to stop anyone else from using a brand mark that is anything like yours. Your brand is your business and your sales so this would be an extremely worthwhile exercise in protecting your company and its sales.

We can assist you with the trademarking process and ensure your logo and brand is secure for years to come. As you can imagine, registering a trademark is a mine field with its many classifications for goods and services, but we can work through the process and make sure your business is in the correct goods classification to protect you and enable you to go about your business without concern for your brand.

The registration process is reasonably straight forward.  It gives total peace of mind over the risks associated with sales and protecting your hard work and investment. We can advise you on whether your logo or brand will be accepted or not. The main objection when registering a trademark is that it’s not distinctive enough. This is perfectly fair. You would not want someone registering a mark similar to yours, so why should you be able to register a mark similar to one that is already registered. It is only right that people who have used the Intellectual property office for their trademarking should be afforded all powers of protection thereafter. This is the point of doing it.

We can complete the application for you and work with the Intellectual Property Office to ensure the process runs smoothly. Registering your brand in the UK normally takes three months. If there is a problem with your brand  – perhaps someone else is already using the name or a similar design – we can work with you to adapt the design to a point that will make it distinctive enough to be accepted. We will also advise on choosing the relevant class to be registered in. This is vital to ensuring full protection of your brand. What you need protection for is someone trying to gain sales from you in the same business sector. This is achieved by selecting the relevant classification for your services. This is not easy. It takes a little time and familiarity with searches and categories to make sure your full business service categories are all selected.

The mark itself can also be registered as a series. If you have a main brand, accompanied by several sub brands, you may want them all registering individually or as a series of marks. If they are very similar with only a slight change to differentiate them they can be registered as a series. If they are all quite different in design then it would be better to trademark them separately. Again we can advise you on this. You may also want to register the colour version with a monochrome version. This will protect the mark for when you are using it in black and white on any engravings or black and white stationery.

Your brand can be registered globally or with individual countries. You need to decide where you are planning to trade your services or products. If you are only registered in the UK, someone else can register a similar mark in Spain. So if you are planning on trading worldwide you need to give this some serious thought. You can register your brand as a trademark in the UK with the Intellectual property office. Once this is done you can then trademark across Europe or the United States of America. It will help the process if you have already registered in one country. This will, of course, increase the cost of trademarking. But it would be invaluable in protecting your brand and therefore your sales in whichever country you are trading in.

Of course, if you have not registered your trademark but are trading with it, you can use the TM on your brand without it being registered. This shows that you are using it as a trademark even though it is not actually on the trademark register. It will not offer as much protection as being registered but it will help in any legal battle with a competitor using a similar mark. Historic use does count for something, though you would have to prove trading has taken place and that the mark has been used to gain a reputation. You can only use the circled R ® if your logo is actually registered with the Intellectual Property Office. If you use the R and your brand has not been registered you are actually committing an offence.

Hopefully that helps you understand a little more about trademarking and the process involved in doing it. I would suggest any business looking to build a brand and business with a strong customer reputation should be fully protected. Your brand is so important to your customer base it deserves it.

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