Trade mark applications and registration

How can I find out if my trade mark can be registered?

Before applying to register a trade mark it is advisable to do a 'clearance search' to see if there are any obvious reasons why the mark cannot be registered - otherwise the application could end up in expensive failure. Our US patented trade mark search software automates a large part of the search process, although this only provides a preliminary result. If you choose to make your application via Trade Mark Direct, we make 23 other legal checks before submitting your application to the examiner. 

Because our trade mark clearance search has been cleverly automated, we provide this service online free of charge. Many other firms charge for this service as manual searches take a lot of time, with their initial fees ranging from £75-150.

If our free search indicates that your trade mark application is likely to fail, then you can opt to buy a detailed report listing all the trade marks that are most similar. This will help you or a trade mark agent work out the changes that would make an application more likely to succeed.

How long does the trade mark registration process take?

Applications to register a trade mark in the UK take approximately four to six months if the application is unopposed by any other registered trade mark owner. Applications with oppositions can take up to an additional six months to complete, depending on the proceedings.

Applications for EU (CTM) trade mark registrations take approximately nine to twelve months to complete, yet, as with UK trade mark applications, oppositions can prolong this process by another three to six months. 

If my application passes your checks, does that mean registration is guaranteed?

Trade Mark Direct does not put forward applications or take an application fee from you unless our experts think your trade mark application will succeed and there are no grounds for opposition.

Whilst we cannot guarantee the success of your application once submitted to the examiners; we’re so sure of our trade mark checking methods that we offer our exclusive money back guarantee: in the very unlikely event your application is rejected by the registry we offer a full refund on our fee.

Should I register in the UK or across the EU?

If you want protection for your goods and services in all European Union countries, not just the UK, then a Community Trade Mark (CTM) is for you. This single application gives protection in all member states of the EU at much lower cost than filing in each country separately. Additionally, those holding a CTM have priority over an application for a similar mark in the UK.

If you plan to operate your business solely in Britain, then a UK registered trade mark can be granted faster and more cheaply.

  UK trade mark EU trade mark (CTM)
Coverage UK only All EU
Seniority No Yes
Ease of registration Average Somewhat harder
Time 4 - 5 months 7 - 9 months
Statutory filing fees £170 £50 per class ~£780 (€800) application
Our fees £249 £50 per additional class £399  £50 per additional class

 

How does the UK registration process work?

The UK trade mark registration process in brief:

  1. You apply online via the Trade Mark Direct website;
  2. Our trade mark experts perform legal checks on your application;
  3. If your application passes our checks, we file your application with the registry;
  4. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) confirms receipt of your trade mark application within six days;
  5. An IPO examiner reports on your application within two months;
  6. If your application is accepted, your details are published in the trade mark journal within three weeks;
  7. After three weeks, if no oppositions are registered, your registration certificate is issued.

How does the EU (CTM) registration process work?

The EU (CTM) trade mark registration process in brief:

  1. You apply online via the Trade Mark Direct website;
  2. Our trade mark experts perform legal checks on your application;
  3. If your application passes our checks, we file your application with the registry;
  4. Your trade mark application is examined by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) within six to nine months, some national registry reports are sent;
  5. If your trade mark application is accepted on absolute grounds, your details are published in the Community Trade Marks bulletin within two months;
  6. After three months, if no oppositions arise, your registration certificate is issued.

How do I apply for an international trade mark?

Trade Mark Direct can help you protect your trade mark in a huge range of countries worldwide. Contact us to discuss your specific requirements and our experts will be able to work out the cheapest and quickest way in which to take your applications forward.

How do I register a logo as a trade mark?

A logo trade mark application has to pass additional criteria before it can be registered: for example, a logo trade mark cannot be:

  • A three dimensional shape which is typical of the goods you sell, has a function or adds value to the goods;
  • A specially protected emblem, such as flags, royal insignia and the rings of the Olympic Games;
  • A mark that is deceptive as to the country of the product’s origin; Obscene.

Logo trade mark applications are submitted to the examiners in the same manner as text trade marks, but are subject to an additional £75 charge.

Is it better to register a logo or just a text trade mark?

Filing a text trade mark gives you wider and stronger rights than registering a logo, where your rights are in the combined words and graphical elements. With a logo, potentially someone else can register the same words but with a different design. If you have a word mark no one else can use those words, with or without a design, so wherever we can we try to register a text trade mark.

If you want to register both the words and separately the logo version, this is treated by all the registries as two applications, so two sets of their fees must be paid. As standard we charge two sets of our advice fees, although we can sometimes be flexible.

Can I register a trade mark without having launched a business?

Anyone may apply to register a trade mark, althoughif your application is similar to another registered trade mark and you are not the proprietor of a business, it may be opposed on the basis that it was made in bad faith.

What happens if there are objections from the registries?

Trade mark registries can object to a trade mark application on absolute grounds - any of the reasons given in our answer to the question ‘What is not allowed as a registered trade mark?’. You as the applicant then have an opportunity to put forward counter-arguments. If these are not accepted by the registry there is a subsequent appeals process.

The UK registry also checks for similarity. The applicant is notified of similar marks, and the holders of those marks are also informed of the application. Holders of the existing registered trade marks are then free to oppose if they wish; however the registry will not reject an application on the basis of similarity unless opposition is encountered and upheld.

Important: Trade Mark Direct does not put forward applications to the registries unless we believe they will succeed and currently have a 98% success rate on our guaranteed applications. Please note, however, we do not support applicants in overcoming objections. We can recommend experienced trade mark agents for which, if you choose to pursue your application, you will have to pay additional fees . If you choose not to pursue the application to the full extent possible all rights under our guarantee scheme lapse, so you will not be reimbursed our fees or statutory fees.

What happens if my trade mark application is opposed?

If after the details of your trade mark application is published other trade mark owners oppose on the basis of visual, aural or conceptual similarity you have the opportunity to put forward counter-arguments or reach an agreement with them over shared or restricted usage. The trade mark officials at the registries then make a judgement. There is a subsequent appeals process.

Important: Trade Mark Direct does not put forward applications to the registries unless we believe they will succeed and currently have a 98% success rate on our guaranteed applications. Please note, however, we do not support applicants in overcoming oppositions. We can recommend experienced trade mark agents for which, if you choose to pursue your application, you will have to pay additional fees. If you choose not to pursue the application to the full extent possible all rights under our guarantee scheme lapse, so you will not be reimbursed our fees or statutory fees.

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