Picture this: you own or work for a brand that is growing. You know that your customers recognise your brand by a few distinguishing features. Maybe it's your company name, your product name, your logo, your slogan or visual cues in your packaging. You know you want to have clear ownership of these features and the exclusive right to use them in your branding. You want to be able to stop lookalikes or copycats from taking advantage of your brand value.
You decide to register some trade marks.
How can you do this strategically and effectively? It's time to think through the following questions before starting the registration process...
What exactly are you trying to protect- and in what way?
A basic question, but one deserving of careful thought. Is it a name, or a particular stylised version of a name? Is it a name always used together with a logo? Exactly what you see on the trade mark application form is exactly what protection you will obtain.
Applications should be very specific, so that it is completely clear to both the Applicant and the Examiner precisely what is to be protected.
Who will be the legal owner of the trade mark?
The owner must put the mark to genuine commercial use to maintain its validity in the long run. While ownership may be transferred, this involves some administration and the payment of supplementary fees. It's worth getting the legal owner right the first time around.
What goods and services do you, and will you, offer?
Every trade mark registration lists the related goods and services to which protection is afforded. These must also be specified clearly in a trade mark application. These goods and services must be categorised in accordance with a standard international classification system.
Where will you need protection?
Consider where you conduct business... and where you might intend to conduct business in the foreseeable future.
Every territory has its own legal systems and costs. Would a UK trade mark provide adequate protection? Might you require cover in international territories?
Your trade mark agent should be able to help you decide upon the best overall strategy for your business.
At Stobbs, we can advise you about what to protect and where based on your professional ambitions- so you don't over-pay or leave yourself at risk.