A trade mark is a sign which distinguishes your goods and services from those of other businesses. Your trade mark could also be described as your ‘brand’ and can be made up of words, logos or a combination of both.
Trade marks must be registered in one or more of 45 ‘classes’: 34 classes for goods and 11 for services. Classes group products that are deemed to be similar areas of trade and are identified by their numbers. Classes can be non-intuitive and complicated to work out – for example, photography is mentioned in five different classes, but the services of a professional or studio photographer are only in class 42 and easily missed – which is why it’s best to submit your trade mark application through a professional service.
The fees that you pay for your application reflect the number of classes under which you need your trade mark to be registered. Once you make your application to Trade Mark Direct’s expert team, we’ll make sure that your trade mark application is submitted under all the relevant classes, so ensuring that your brand will befully protected once your registration is complete.
If you run a business without a registered trade mark, your competitors could:
Without a registered trade mark, your brand is completely insecure. A registered trade mark:
No, owning a domain name does not offer your trade mark any protection under the law. If you want to protect your brand, you must register your trade mark.
No, registering your business at Companies House does not offer your trade mark any protection under the law. If you want to protect your brand, you must register your trade mark.
To be registrable, trade marks must be distinctive for the goods and services you provide. A registered trade mark must allow consumers to differentiate your goods or service from another company’s.
For this reason, made up words are generally acceptable as trade marks. Real examples are:
Examiners will also accept word marks involving known names, if none similar have already been registered, such as
Also, common words used in unfamiliar ways:
Trade mark applications will be refused if the trade mark describes your goods or services or any characteristics of them:
Examiners will also refuse to register trade marks which are made up of descriptions customary in your line of business:
Trying to get around the distinctiveness or common phrase barrier by intentional misspelling does not work:
Your trade mark application will also be turned down if it includes offensive words or images; is against the law in any way e.g. promoting illegal activities; or is deceptive – attempting to persuade the public that your goods and services have a quality which they do not.
|Trade mark||Goods / services||?||Comments|
|3 3/7||any||Common description: many say they operate 24/7|
|Shoes Direct||mail order shoes||‘Direct’ is widely used – specifying shoes does not help|
|Wonderstuff||oil lubricant||Joining words together does not make a mark acceptable|
|Klever Klene||cleaning||If a word or phrase spelt correctly would not pass, misspelling does not help|
|Quickshop.com||internet||Presenting as a domain name (.com, .co.uk) does not help|
|Monkey Nuts||clothing||Acceptable for clothing as not common usage. Would not pass for food, animals, etc.|
|Pink Box||computers||Is now distinctive|
|Zooby 24/7||any||Is now distinctive|
|Monteverdi Direct Trade Mark Services||trade mark services||Is now distinctive|
|Slippery Sid’s Wonderstuff||oil lubricant||Is now distinctive|
|Kevin’s Klever Klene||cleaning||Is now distinctive|
|Quacks.com||internet||Is now distinctive|
Yes, providing the existing word:
Trade mark applications will be refused if your trade mark bears:
Two businesses can register the same trade mark provided their areas of trade do not overlap, e.g. Houndstooth Estate Agency and Houndstooth Tree Surgeons.
If your line of business is the same or similar as the company’s whose registered trade mark you want to use, then by using their trade mark you could be subject to legal action or even criminal charges. Even if you think that your business operates in a different sphere, because some trade marks are registered under many different ‘classes’, i.e. industries, by law your activities could still be infringing on their registered trade mark. The only way to be certain that your use of a trade mark does not contravene trade mark law is to register it with the proper authorities.