TIME TO TRADEMARK: DIY
Are you ready to protect that brand you’ve poured your heart and soul into? Introducing Time to Trademark: DIY’, our two-part training programme that teaches you how to register your own UK
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
Trademarking is the process of formally protecting your business assets, such as the name of your brand, a slogan, or a logo.
You pay to register your assets in certain trademark classes and locations, like the UK, Ireland, US, or EU.
A trademark demonstrates to others that you are the owner of your brand identity. It deters people from trying to copy your assets.
There are a lot, but here are a few:
- You own your brand identity.
- If someone does try and copy your trademarked identity, the law is on your side. You can send a cease-and-desist letter telling them to stop.
- It helps build your reputation and brand recognition.
- It saves you money by protecting you from having to rebrand if someone copies your unprotected identity.
- It can make you money. A trademarks portfolio can be an extra income stream for your business, for example if people pay to use your assets.
A registered trademark will protect your assets for 10 years. After 10 years, trademarks can be easily renewed.
Yes. It is possible for another business to have a similar name to your business. It could even be the same. However, this is 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 infringes on your trademark, we’d recommend seeking legal advice. We can draft a cease-and-desist letter and send it on your behalf. This document outlines what the infringer has done wrong and that they have a certain amount of time to stop using your trademark. You can threaten legal action if the recipient fails to comply.
If this doesn’t work, you may wish to take court action, alongside a trademark disputes solicitor.
Before you pay to register a trademark, it is a good idea to check the database for existing marks that might be similar to yours.
For absolute peace-of-mind, we’d recommend you instruct a solicitor to undertake an in-depth search for any similar marks. We can do this for you and advise you on the likelihood of your mark being registered before you start the process.
It depends where you register. In the UK it takes up to 4 months. Ireland is similar, as is the EU. In the US, the process can take up to a year. These lengthy timelines are due to there being several stages in a trademark registration. For this reason, you should consider registering your trademark as early as possible before someone else registers before you.
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 on someone else’s trademark. This could force you into a costly rebrand or even a legal battle.
- Someone else could trademark your business name or logo before you do. Even if you are already trading with it, you could be forced into rebranding.
- It can damage your reputation and make people think you aren’t taking your business seriously, particularly if you’re caught up with infringement issues.
Large or small, all businesses need trademark protection. The cost of things going wrong is high. Arguably, the smaller the business is, the more important it is to get your assets protected.
Trademark infringement penalties can include imprisonment, fines, or both. The severity of the penalty 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 to prove a common law trademark, but it could come in to play in these circumstances:
- If the owner of the unregistered mark was trading under that registered mark at the time it was registered. For example, your business had been trading for a long time before the new mark was registered.
- If two marks are sufficiently similar regarding their fields of trade.
- If 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 marks. They can also advise you on which classes you should be registering in. This is something we can help with.
There is no global trademark registration process, but there is something called the Madrid Protocol. You go through this process when you’re looking to register your trademark in multiple countries. Some regions are not signed up to the Madrid Protocol, but you’ll find most are.
You choose which countries you’d like to register in, then the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) deals with the individual countries.
You will 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. An inactive mark could be subject to a challenge for non-usage.
Yes, it has. In the past, an EU trademark would protect you across the EU, which included the UK. This has changed. To get protection in both places you now need to file separate applications in both the UK and the EU.
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