Trade marks, broadly speaking, indicate the origin of goods or services. Traditionally this was done by using words, logos, pictures or a combination of these elements, now trade marks can also be sounds and/or gestures.
Shapes of products can also be registered. Registering a trade mark allows you to stop others from using it without your permission.
Trade mark registration lasts 10 years and is only valid in the country of registration. However, trade mark registrations can be renewed every 10 years on payment of renewal fees and a trade mark can therefore last forever.
To register a trade mark, it must be clearly different from any trade marks already registered for the same type of products or services. When choosing your trade mark don’t use words that describe what you do as descriptive marks will be refused registration.
Company names and domain names aren’t automatically trade marks. Company names, domain names and trade marks are three entirely separate things and that ownership of one does not automatically entitle you to ownership of the other two.
- company names with Companies House
- domain names with domain name registrars
Once you’ve done that, you may be able to register company or domain names as trade marks.
How we can help?
For advice and guidance on trade marks, business information or other Intellectual Property, book a one-to-one with one of the team, or join one of our Intellectual Property workshops.
We also hold confidential trade mark clinics in partnership with local experts.
Hints and tips
- Make up your trade mark – e.g. Adidas, Kodak, Nike, Ohyo.
- Do a thorough search – Search all jurisdictions in which you wish to trade.
- Think ahead – a trade mark is renewed every ten years; where do you want your business to be in 12 months’ time or in five years’ time? Have you covered all relevant class of goods and services?
- Enforce your rights – there isn’t much point in registering your intellectual property unless you are prepared to defend it.