When your business creates something that identifies it against the competition, your task becomes paramount to protect that special something from imitators, flatterers, and downright thieves.
The iron vault you’re now searching for has a name, and that name is trademark.
UK Trademarks Defined
There is not one all encompassing trade mark that is stamped onto your product, service, or business and declared official.
Just applying for a trademark will cost you £200. From there, you have to decide what your trademark will include: Words? Sounds? Logos? Colours? One or more of these things combined?
Each of these designations consist of a trade mark class. If you were McDonald’s registering its Big Mac sandwich back in the 1960s, you would likely need to register a combination of all four categories – the name of the sandwich, the jingle that went along with it “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun,” the sandwich’s logo, and the colours that inhabit that logo, with the emphasis on the brand’s golden arches.
In the UK, it’s an extra £50 for each additional class you apply for a trade mark in. You can see more about different trademark classes in this article by Epiphany Law.
From there, more specific steps must be taken regarding if your trademark revolves around goods, services, or both, and then goes into further detail into what class of business your trademark falls based on the industry served. This can be an all-day affair there are dozens and dozens of categories to choose from. Consult the UK Government website for help in covering yourself in as many aspects as possible.
After registering a trademark, you’ll generally be waiting around four months for it to be approved. The trademark lasts for a period of 10 years.
Registering A Trademark Beyond The UK
Regardless of what happens with the Brexit vote, the need to register your trademark in other countries, particularly those comprising the EU, will remain for most British businesses. An agreement known as The Madrid Protocol is a collection of 114 countries – which encompass 80 per cent of the world’s trade – allows businesses to register their trademarks to most of the civilised world all at once.
Once you have succeeded in registering a trademark in your country of origin, you can apply for the international mark via the Madrid Protocol and the World Intellectual Property Organisation. (WIPO)
WIPO trade mark applications reached an all-time high in 2015 with more than 51,000. The EU led the way with 7,278 trade mark applications in 2015, followed by the U.S with 6,737 trade mark applications. The UK finished just outside the top 10.
Final Words On Registering A Trademark
Hopefully, this blog post has made registering a trademark for the UK and EU a bit easier for you to understand. If you’re still unsure about anything regarding registering a trademark then book a free Startup Legal Session.
It’s often easier to speak to an expert and get the answers you need for certain rather than look for those answers on your own!
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