Why Register a Trade Mark?

A registered trade mark:

  • may put people off using your trade mark without your permission
  • allows you to take legal action against anyone who uses your trade mark without your permission
  • is your property, which means you can sell it, or let other people have a licence that allows them to use it

The principal benefit of registering a trade mark is that it gives the owner the exclusive right to use your mark for the goods and/or for which it has been registered in the United Kingdom (UK). The owner of a UK registered trade mark is therefore entitled to prevent a third party from using an identical or similar mark in circumstances where the possibility of confusion is likely to arise. Registration is a significant deterrent to other traders and provides concrete proof of a claim to legal rights.

In today’s competitive and global market place, protecting your business identity has become one of the most important steps you can take. Advances in IT and the Internet mean that more information is freely available and in the public domain. As a consequence it is now much easier for a competitor to take advantage of your hard-earned reputation. If you need to create a brand name or conduct expensive marketing campaigns and advertising, it is often wise to protect your identity with a UK registered trademark.

If you do not register a trademark it is easier for competitors to use a brand name or business logo similar to your own, meaning that they can reap the benefits of your hard work. However the problem is not only caused by those actively seeking to steal copyright. If you do not possess a trademark, infringement may occur innocently. Whilst you or your company has the natural right to copyright in law, legal action to prevent such an infringement - known as “passing off” - can be expensive and time consuming.

A trade mark is registered for 10 years and the registration is renewable in 10 year periods and must be renewed at the appropriate time to keep it in force.