If you have a business, you have no doubt thought about registering a trademark, which is recognised as a way for one party to distinguish itself from another. Coca-cola, Marks & Spencer’s, Asda and River Island all have registered trademarks in place that mean that other businesses can’t use elements of their brand or logo if it might confuse the public into thinking they are them.
Trademarks cost anything from around £170 to £1,300 to register in the UK, depending on the type of trademark you want. If you want to register your trademark further afield, the price will be more.
As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to consider hiring a solicitor to apply for trademarks on your behalf. As professionals they’ll know best, and will help make sure your business and brand are protected as best they can be.
But first, it is important you learn about what a trademark is and why it is important you have one. In this article, we will also discuss what sometimes goes wrong when people apply for trademarks.
What type of trademarks are there?
Trademarks are separated by classes depending on the type of business you have. Goods and services are separated into different classes depending on the nature of their work.
A solicitor will help you to determine which class is appropriate for your business and to make the application to protect your company.
4 reasons to register for a trademark
- Protect your business from copycats
You can technically try to sue a copycat even if you have not got a trademark, but the burden of proof is much higher. If someone copies or infringes on your work, you’ll have to prove that you owned the work in the first place.
Since court cases can be very expensive, you’ll want to protect yourself through presumed ownership and diminish the burden of proof as much as possible.
- Make sure you’re unique
When you register your trademark, you’ll be told if you are infringing on someone else’s name or trademark. This is important because they could sue you for copying them, which will mean you have to pay legal fees and fines.
In the worst case scenario, you’ll have to pay damages to the owner of the registered trademark. You might also find that you are losing customers because they are confused about who you are. If you need to recreate yourself, you’re also going to lose funds to create additional marketing materials and brand guidelines.
- Remain unique
Registering your trademark will mean that other people trying to infringe on your brand will be told, in similar fashion to above, that your company already has the rights to this trademark.
If you make an incredible company and you want to franchise it to individuals, you can charge a licensing fee for use of your trademark, and you can make a significant amount of money doing this.
Common mistakes made with regards to trademarks
Aside from not registering a trademark at all, there are many mistakes people make when they are registering for a trade mark. Do not be a victim of any of the following:
- Not conducting a trademark search before applying
It is really important that you make sure you are not infringing on someone else’s trademark before you apply, or your trademark request will be rejected and you won’t get your money back. You’ll also find yourself staring down the barrel of a rebrand.
- Not enforcing trademark rights
Once you have applied, you should monitor trademark applications to make sure nobody is applying for a trademark that infringes on your own.
- Applying for a trademark on a name that’s too generic
If you do this, you might lose your legal protection, like sellotape and escalator did.
- Failing to maintain registration
Trademarks need to be renewed, so you should make sure someone is in charge of keeping track of renewal dates, or else you might lose your legal protection and it is highly unlikely you can get it back.
How to apply for a trademark
Before you try to register your trademark, you will need to check it does not already exist.
There’s also a government guide here, where you can find more in depth information about how to register and what you will need.
Bear in mind that if you start your application and you apply incorrectly, you cannot have a refund, so it makes good sense to do your research and make sure you are doing this properly.
Solicitors are experts in applying for trademarks and will make sure you are completely covered, which means no nasty surprises down the line. They’ll charge a fee, but they’ll take away all of the hassle for you.
JMR Solicitors can help
Our Manchester based trademark and patent solicitors know how important it is to protect your intellectual property and can deal with all aspects of trademarks across a large range of sectors.
We’ve worked with:
- media and entertainment,
- public sector organisations,
- fashion companies,
- advertisement agencies,
- and more.
Whether you are large or small, a start-up or an individual, we can help you, and we’ll give you the same level of determination and dedication we give to everyone we serve.
For more information, or to speak to a dedicated member of our team, email email@example.com, or call 0161 491 3933.