Eight reasons to register your trade mark now

10th Nov 2020

We explore the benefits of registering your trade mark early in a digital age.

In the excitement of developing a new business, product or service, businesses often fail to seek protection for the key elements of their branding, leaving them open for third parties to take and use for their own benefit.

While there is no right or wrong time to seek protection for your mark, or marks, in our experience earlier is always better.

As soon as you, or your creatives, come up with the idea for a brand name or logo, searches should be carried out to establish whether that trade mark is available for use and registration in respect of the relevant goods or services.

This will give a clear indication of whether the mark that you have chosen might face challenges from third parties.

All being well, an application for the trade mark should be filed as soon as possible, even if the actual launch of the product or business is not imminent.

Here are our eight reasons why:

1. It’s easier to fight off copycats

A trade mark registration provides a much stronger right to enforce against third parties than relying on other unregistered rights such as passing off and copyright. This is because there is a clear date from when protection started and the scope of protection is set out in the specification.

2. It minimises the risk

While the results of any searches carried out might indicate the risk in use and registration of the mark is low, this situation can quickly change as applications are continuously being filed.

In the interim period, between searching and filing, it is possible that a third party might apply to register the same/a similar trade mark for the same/similar goods or services which would block the use and registration of your mark. In order to minimise the risk of this happening,  you should file your application as early as possible after receiving your search results.

3. It can save you money

Sometimes trade mark registrations can be unsuccessful because they are opposed by third parties. If an objection is successful, you might be forced to rebrand, which is less painful if you are only at the early stages of marketing your product or services - compared to the price if you are further down the line, or have even got as far as launching your product or service to the public.

You also reduce the risk of infringement if these issues come to light before your trade mark is in use.

4. It adds value to your business

Trade mark registrations are intangible assets that are taken into consideration when valuing a business. If you are selling or moving on from your business, it would show good due diligence to have had the correct registrations in place for the lifetime of the business or product.

5. It gives you the ‘takedown’ power

Owning a registered trade mark also gives you access to greater protection from infringement on online selling platforms such as Amazon and social media sites; such as Facebook and Instagram. On these platforms, a registered trade mark provides grounds for requesting ‘takedowns’ and is a requirement for access to Amazon’s online brand registry.

5. International protection

Once you have filed your application in the UK, any later filings you make in other jurisdictions for the same trade mark in the six months after your UK filing date, the “priority period”, will benefit from protection being backdated to that UK filing date. You can make use of this “priority period” by filing your foreign trade mark applications within the six months following your UK filing date.

6. You get priority

By filing your first application before you launch your product or service, you minimise the risk of a third party making pre-emptive filings for your mark, or similar marks, that give them priority over you and allow them to ride on the back of your future success and/or block your use and registration of the mark both at home and abroad.

7. Someone else could successfully register your mark

In contrast, if you launch your product or service and it is an overnight success, but you have not sought protection for your trade mark, you might find that third parties have registered it and there is little that you can do to get it back from a legal perspective. This might result in you having to pay over the odds to purchase rights for your mark or force you to rebrand altogether.

8. Protection in an online world

The online world in which we live means that products are reaching global audiences and consumers far quicker than ever before. This has not only increased the value of a good brand but also exposes it to potential threats in the form of copycats, counterfeiters and trade mark ‘squatters’.

In light of these threats, it is even more important that the correct trade mark protection is in place as early as possible in the development of a brand and certainly before the product or service upon which they are to be used is launched.

Speak to a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney to start today