How To Register A Trademark: A Guide For UK Businesses

April 29, 2023

 

A business trademark is a distinctive mark distinguishing one business's goods and services from another. It's an important way of maintaining the rights to your specific branding, services and products and preventing other businesses from copying them.

In the UK, a trademark can be registered with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), allowing the owner the exclusive rights to use the trademark concerning specified goods and services they offer.

In this guide for UK businesses, we'll explain how to register a trademark and what you need to do to stay in control of your intellectual property.

Let's get started!

Do You ‘Need’ A Trademark?

Before we get into the steps of getting a trademark, let’s confront one of the most commonly asked questions about trademarks – do you need one?

The short answer to this is yes. If you run a business which you want to run commercially, you’ll want to ensure that your goods and services are trademarked. If they're not, any other business could swoop in and claim your idea – confusing your consumers and losing your business.

Step 1: Conduct a Trademark Search

Before filing a trademark application, conducting a thorough search is important to ensure the trademark is available for registration.

You can do this by searching the IPOs trademark database to ensure that there are no identical or similar trademarks already in use which may invalidate your claim. Your trademark must be unique, as two similar trademarks might confuse consumers.

It’s also necessary to check the relevant classes of goods and services to guarantee no conflicting trademarks in those classes.

You can conduct these searches yourself using free online portals. However, it is often best to get the help of a professional trademark lawyer to help you conduct high-quality research at a faster rate. A professional will have better, faster access to the information you need – saving you significant time on your application.

If you don’t properly check for existing and similar trademarks, your application might be rejected, so ensuring you’ve conducted high-quality checks is important.

Step 2: File a Trademark Application

Once you have determined that your trademark is available and original, your next step will be to file your application. You can do this online with the IPO or send a physical form through the post. It is generally much quicker to apply online, and you will need to include details such as:

  • The name and address of the applicant/business
  • A representation of the trademark
  • The goods and services that the trademark will be used for
  • The class or classes of goods and services under which the mark will be registered. It's crucial to ensure the mark is filed in the correct class or classes, as this will determine the scope of protection the mark will receive.

To determine which class or classes are appropriate for your mark, you can use the IPO's trademark classification tool to help you.

Step 3: Examination and Publication

After your application has been filed, it will be examined by the IPO team to ensure that it meets all the requirements set for trademark registration.

This includes assessing the mark's distinctiveness, checking for conflicts with existing trademarks and ensuring that the trademark doesn’t present any offensive or harmful ideas.

If the IPO finds any issues with the application, it can issue an examination report to the applicant, allowing them to address the issues and argue their case. These will be small issues that can easily be resolved. If the application conflicts heavily with the guidelines, it may be rejected.

Assuming there are no issues with the application, the IPO will publish it in the UK Trademarks Journal, a general trademark register. This allows anyone who may have objections to the registration to oppose it within two months of publication.

Step 4: Registration and Renewal

There is a two-month opposition period in which the IPO may raise issues with your trademark application. However, you’ll be ready to register a trademark if this passes by with no issues.

Your trademark will be registered in the UK for ten years after the IPO confirms it. After this, you will have the option to renew it indefinitely in additional 10-year periods.

The renewal process will involve paying a renewal fee (decided by the IPO) and confirming that the mark is still in use.

Conclusion,

In conclusion, registering a trademark in the UK can be straightforward if you follow the earlier steps.

So long as you conduct a thorough background search, file a complete application and address any issue that might arise during the examination process – you can massively increase your chances of obtaining a registered trademark.

If you’re applying for a business trademark, we wish you the best of luck!

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Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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