Trade Marks: Frequently Asked Questions
On this page we answer the questions about trade marks that we have been asked most frequently and we feel are the most useful to business and brand name owners.
What is a registered trade mark?
A registered trade mark is any “sign” which can distinguish your goods and services from those of another trader. A sign includes, for example, words, logos, pictures or a combination of these.
How do I get a registered trade mark that is valid in the UK?
You need to make an application to either the UK Trade Marks Registry (if you want a UK trade mark) or, for an EU trade mark (this is currently also valid in the UK), the EU trade mark office in Spain. See our specialist trade mark information page.
Is a trade mark expensive to obtain?
The official fees at the UK registry start at £170.00 and are valid for 10 years. If you want to protect your trade marks in the whole of the EU, the application costs from €850 (in official fees).
At BRAND PROTECT, we can guide your application through the legal complexities of applying for trade marks. Our charges can be fixed in advance. This figure is in addition to the official registration fees. This includes a custom specification of the goods and services offered by your company. We assist you in overcoming any competitors’ objections to your application, and we provide a first class service. In addition, our partner firm Trade Marks Associates (TMA) offers a low-cost fee structure for registering straight-forward trade marks in the UK or EU. An example price is £225.00, plus official fees, for a UK trade mark in 3 classes. Call Brand Protect or TMA for advice on which may offer the most suitable and cost-effective route for your trade mark needs.
I have invested time and money in developing a good reputation and well-known brand name, why do I need to protect this name?
You may gain the right to prevent others from using a confusingly similar trade mark simply by selling goods and services under that brand. However, simply using a brand image or logo may not give you the right to use that brand in the first place. If someone registers a trade mark similar to your brand name in either the UK or Community (EU) offices, you could be forced to stop using your trade mark.
Why do I need a trade mark?
- A trade mark says something about you and your reputation. It is like your name; choose it with care.
- A registered trade mark gives you extra legal protection to prevent others using your name or a similar brand name
- If you trade in the UK, everything that you spend on marketing can be ascribed to the value of the registered brand name for accounting purposes. All costs incurred in protecting a registered trade mark are tax deductible.
- Think of some of the trade marks that are sold to other businesses. The companies that purchase those trade marks are interested in the value of the brand and are willing to pay huge premiums to own a well-known trade mark. Unless that brand is registered as a trade mark, it has no sale value.
My company has just completed a re-branding process; do I need to protect the new brand image as a trade mark?
Do you own that image? Are you sure? Has the image been assigned in such a way that you own the image absolutely?
Many companies believe that just because they have paid for an image – or even a website – to be created, that they own the rights to that image or website. It comes as quite a shock when those companies find out that they do not have ownership. Often the person who created the images or website owns it. At Brand Protect, we can help in providing cost-effective transfer, of a trade mark and other rights, to the appropriate owner.
My business is very small, why should I spend my money on trade mark protection?
The cost – to a small business – of registering their trade mark is often £500 – £1000. This can be a large sum of money to a small business and the costs and benefits must be carefully weighed up. If none of your competitors trade under a similar trade mark to your’s, and are unlikely to do so in the future, then there is little danger that they will cause confusion to your customers and there is no danger that your business would be damaged by this. If there is little likelihood of current or new competitors behaving in this way then you might be advised not to spend the money on registering your trade mark.
What is a Form TM7A?
If you have received a Trade Mark Notice of Threatened Opposition (Form TM7A), please refer to our PDF document that explains what it is and what to do in more detail:
Trade Mark Notice of Threatened Opposition (download PDF 240 KB)