TRADEMARKING

Services

Would you go out to dinner and eat your dessert first? I’m sure some of you are nodding your heads, but the vast majority of you wouldn’t right? Well, starting a business without protecting your brand first is kind of like that – you just don’t do it!

Put things into perspective – how much time, energy and money have you put (or plan to put) into your business? Can you imagine it being torn away in minutes all because you didn’t trademark?

It’s just not worth it! Avoid expensive rebrands (and maybe even intense court cases) by trademarking ASAP.

trademarking image

WANT TO KNOW THE SECRET TO BUILDING A BULLET PROOF BUSINESS?

Simply click on the link and let us show you how with a FREE copy of our Brand Protection Legal Cheat Sheet!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT

Trademarking

You register a trademark to protect the branding or intellectual property of your business. This could include things like your business / brand name, your product name, a slogan or tagline, a signature framework, or a logo / brand image.

Unlike with copyright, trademark protection doesn’t exist straightaway. You have to pay to register and can register to protect that piece of IP in certain places like the UK, Ireland, US or EU.

There are a lot, but here are a few:

  • You own it, no one else
  • Protection from copycats. If someone does copy your trademark the law is on your side – you can send a cease and desist and take it further if needed
  • It helps build up your reputation and brand recognition
  • Saves you money in the long run (from possible rebranding or infringement)
  • It can make you money – a trademarks portfolio can actually be an extra income stream for your business (think giving permission for use etc.)

When you register a trademark (whether it be for your business name or logo) that mark is protected for 10 whole years. After the 10 years is up, you can renew it (which is very straightforward).

Yes, another business can have the same name as your business name. However, this can be dependent on a few factors:

  1. What industry the business is in
  2. Whether the business is in the same market
  3. Who trademarked the name first

If someone is infringing on your trademark you should send them a cease and desist letter (or have a lawyer draft this up and send it on your behalf; I’d always recommend seeking legal advice in the early stages). This outlines what the infringer has done wrong and that they have a certain amount of time to stop using your trademark. Here, you can threaten legal action if the recipient fails to comply.

If this doesn’t work, you may wish to proceed further to a court action alongside a trademark disputes solicitor.

Before you register a trademark, you’ll want to check the trademark register for any existing marks that are similar (or the same) as yours. This lowers your risk of getting that trademark rejected (thus wasting money) and your risk of accidentally infringing on someone else’s mark (meaning you may need to rebrand).

Alternatively, you can instruct a solicitor to undertake an in-depth, extensive search for any similar marks. We can do this for you, so you know the likelihood of your mark being registered beforehand.

It depends where you register. In the UK it takes approx. 5 months, Ireland is similar, as is the EU. In the US, the process can take up to one year. These timelines are due to their being several stages in a trademark registration. This is why you should consider registering your trademark as soon as possible.

There are several issues that could arise from not registering your trademark:

  • If you didn’t check the trademark register before creating your business, you could accidentally be infringing (copying) someone else’s trademark, which could force you into a costly rebrand (and maybe even a costly legal battle)
  • Someone else could trademark your business name / logo before you do (even though you’re trading with it), again forcing you into an expensive rebrand
  • It can damage your reputation and make people thing you aren’t taking your business seriously, particularly if you’re caught up with infringement issues.

Absolutely not. Think of it this way, if the big companies like Apple and Google (who have a ton of money and good lawyers on their side) can be victims of trademark infringement, small businesses DEFINITELY can too.

Trademark infringement penalties can include imprisonment and / or fines. It will depend on the severity of the infringement. 

There is something called a ‘common law’ trademark which can protect unregistered trademarks. It is incredibly hard (borderline impossible) to prove this, however it could come in to play in these circumstances:

  • Whether the owner of the unregistered mark was trading under that registered mark at the time it was registered (i.e., Your business has been trading for a long time prior to the new mark being registered)
  • Whether two marks are sufficiently similar regarding their fields of trade
  • Whether there is a lot of cause for confusion between the two businesses regarding the goodwill of the business with the unregistered trademark.

Trademarks almost always come out on top, so please be wary.

You CAN, but it is tricky to get right. Self-registrations are commonly rejected, meaning your fees will go to waste.

A solicitor can help improve the likelihood of acceptance by completing extensive searches of existing, similar marks and by letting you know which classes you should be registering in. This is something we can help with.

There is no ‘worldwide’ trademark per se, but there is something called the Madrid Protocol. You go through this process where you’re looking to register your trademark in multiple different countries. Not all countries in the world are signed up, but you’ll find that most are.

You choose which countries you’d like to register in, then the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) will deal with a ‘form’ sent to those countries.

The catch is you still have to go through the process of registration in each country. We’d highly recommend seeking a solicitor to help out here.

Something else to keep in mind is that you should only be registering in countries where you have a presence or are likely to expand to, otherwise your mark could be challenge for non-usage.

Yes, it has. Previously, if you registered for an EU trademark, you’d get protection across all of the EU (including the UK), this has now changed. Going forward, you will now need to file separate applications in both the UK and the EU to get protection in both places.

Free Brand Protection Advice call

We also offer free brand protection advice calls. This is a 15-minute call where we can chat about the intellectual property you hold in your business and how to protect it, what steps you can and should currently be taking and how to make sure you aren't infringing the intellectual property rights of others...you don't want to land yourself in trouble! You can book this here -  https://calendly.com/jamiesonlaw/brandprotection

UK office: G2, 2 Milverton Grange, Glasgow G46 7AU
Ireland office: Cushenstown, Garristown, Meath A42 FY83

Scroll to Top