Trade marks - FAQ
I have a trade mark - do I need to register it?
Yes, if you want to protect your mark and your right and your ability to use it. First of all you need to check that no one else has already registered it or is using one that is similar for the same goods or services. If your new mark is acceptable for use, registering it will give you protection against someone else using the same mark on similar goods or services, in the country of registration.
How do I register a trade mark?
Use the services of a registered trade mark attorney. You can find a full list of firms in the UK with CITMA members on our website in the search box. The listing is by region. Select one or two near you and give them a call — they will be happy to tell you about procedures and costs.
How much does it cost?
The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys does not set down a scale of charges. However, as a very rough guide you could expect to pay between £600 and £800 plus VAT for a straightforward registration in one class in the UK. Costs will vary according to the complexity of the trade mark, the number of classes to be covered and the geographical spread: UK, EU or worldwide.
How long does it take to register a trade mark?
The whole process usually takes several months in the UK, but once the mark is registered, the protection dates from the time your application was first received at the UK Intellectual Property Office. The timescale varies throughout the world, but your trade mark attorney will be able to advise your about the individual countries.
How do I register a trade mark in other countries?
Your UK trade mark attorney can work through overseas agents in countries worldwide. You can find a UK trade mark attorney by using this site’s search. They can advise on the countries in which you should have protection and can use international protocols to get multiple country registrations.
Can I register a trade mark myself?
Yes. But you should first check to see that no one else is using it, or has already registered it, by carrying out a search. Your trade mark attorney can carry out a full search, which would include the UK and European trade mark registers and take in other trade marks that might be deemed confusingly similar. Costs vary, so get a quotation from your trade mark attorney. Applications to register trade marks can be made directly to the Trade Marks Registry, which is part of the UK intellectual Property Office.
Can I register my company name?
A UK registered company will have company name registration, for example, a company in England and Wales will be registered at Companies House. However, that is not the same as registering the name as a trade mark. Your trade mark attorney will be able to advise you whether your company name can be registered as a trade mark.
Can I register my domain name as a trade mark?
Domain names are registered on a first come first served basis and take no account of trade marks that may already exist. If you can register your domain name as a trade mark, do so as soon as possible. Similarly, if you have a trade mark it is probably worth registering it as a domain name, if possible.
Do I need a global trade mark to cover internet sales?
The internet is still a bit of a grey area but the current thinking is that your trade mark registrations need only cover your intended markets. However, if you trade through the internet in countries where someone else has the same mark in the same class of goods and their trade mark is protected in that country, then you could have a serious infringement problem. Your UK trade mark attorney should be able to advise.
My logo is a bit like someone else's
In general, if you think you have a trade mark that looks like someone else's then you might be infringing their trade mark or copyright or design — that is why you should check to see no one else already uses or has registered your chosen trade mark before you enter the marketplace. Similarly, if you think someone is infringing your trade mark you may be able to take action to stop them. Your trade mark attorney will be able to advise you.