A trademark is a name, sign or logo used to distinguish your company or your products from others, also known as a ‘brand’. The world’s most successful brands actually have a tangible value – Apple (US $124.2bn) , Microsoft (US $63bn), Google (US $56.6bn) and Coca-Cola (US $56.1bn) for example. Even if your business is not yet in the same league as McDonalds (US $39.9bn), trademark registration may still be wise in order to patent a product’s new parts or protect its unique shape by registering the design. Bridgehouse Company Secretaries has specialist knowledge of trademark registration and can help you protect your intellectual property.
Registering or renewing a trademark
Registering the name of a company with Companies House does not automatically trademark it, a common misconception. To register or renew a trademark (which must be done every ten years), you will need to visit the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) website.
To qualify as a trademark your branding must be recognisable and differentiate your goods or services from others.
Be aware that your chosen name may not qualify as a trademark for reasons such as:
- It is not distinctive enough – a trademark must distinguish your business from others that offer similar services or goods
- It is descriptive – avoid words like ‘best’ or ‘cheap’ or words that are common in your industry such as ‘fish’ for a fishing company!
- It indicates a location
- It is similar or the same as another trademark
- It is confusing or misleading
- It could cause offence
Another restriction is that you cannot trademark logos or signs that are similar or identical to flags, coats of arms, official signs, hallmarks and names (or abbreviations) of governmental organisations (such as MI5).
However, once you have successfully completed your trademark registration, you can take legal action against anybody else that uses your trademark, and you can sell and licence its use.
Contact us to find out more
If you’d like to know more about trademark registration, call us on 0845 055 8260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org