|You might have noticed, but trademarks and brand protection are among our favourite topics here at JL. There’s good reason for this! Trademarks are very important to businesses. Why, might you ask?
Why register a trade mark?
By registering your branding, like your company name, logo, product name or slogan, you are protecting yourself against copycats. Copycats are people or companies seeking to imitate what you do and what you stand for and essentially try to steal your place in the market that you’ve worked so hard to enter.
With a trade mark, this means that competitors in the same industry selling similar goods or services can’t set up a company with a similar name. If they do, then you have a legal right to enforce your trade mark and rightfully demand that they rebrand.
It is so vital that you get in there and register your trade mark first – if you don’t you could be on the receiving end of a cease and desist and you’ll face the time, expense, and hassle of rebranding.
What can be registered as a trade mark?
We’re asked this regularly! Essentially, for a trade mark to be registrable it needs to be sufficiently distinctive and doesn’t describe your goods or services.
For instance, although Apple is a generic work, they were able to register its trade mark because it sells electronics, but if they were in the fruit industry, this would have been a big no no!
As another example, Jamieson Law couldn’t register “Scottish lawyer” in the class relating to legal services as it describes my nationality and my profession. You get the gist?
What countries should I register in?
So, now that we’ve established that trade marking is on your to-do list, the next question is where you should be registering. Ideally, you’d want to register in the countries you sell your goods and services in.
Trademarking internationally can be expensive and a lengthy process, but the Madrid Protocol does make it easier. Under the Madrid Protocol, one application is submitted to cover a number of countries. All you need to have done is have applied to register a trade mark elsewhere first. We always recommend starting with a UK application, because the filing fees are fairly low (around £250-300) and the UK Intellectual Property Office typically responds in three weeks (compared to more than six months in the US).
So, what do you do next?
You can register a UK trademark yourself, although it is a tricky process. Self-registrations are commonly rejected. We can help improve the likelihood of acceptance by completing extensive searches of existing, similar trademarks and by letting you know which classes you should be registering in.
You will need a lawyer to make the application for you anywhere outside of the UK.
If you do want to save some cash and Trademark your brand yourself, I would advise that you check out our Time To Trademark product. It is a 2-part training that guides you through the process of trademarking and it is only £149. (Bargain!) Go to our website or click the link below to find out more about Time To Trademark.
If you’ve pushed trademarking to the top of your list and you’d like to discuss how we can help you, just drop us an email to arrange a legal advice call at firstname.lastname@example.org