Safeguarding your brand
Whilst the most common trade marks are logos and brand names, trade mark protection can be sought for a much wider range of marks, including designs and packaging.
Used effectively, a trade mark can distinguish your business and its products from those of your competitors. Consequently, a trade mark can be a valuable asset, warranting investment in its protection, so as to prevent damage to a business or dilution of its brand.
Does a trade mark need to be registered?
In the UK, there is no strict requirement that a trade mark be registered. However, in the event that a third party uses your trade mark in the UK without your consent, your ability to prevent that illicit use is strengthened if you have a registered trade mark.
Reliance on unregistered rights requires that you demonstrate, amongst other things, that your trade mark has goodwill sufficient to distinguish your products or services. For some businesses this will not be problematic, for others this may prove difficult, if not impossible, to prove.
A registered trade mark is a monopoly right and so prevents an unauthorised third party from using the trade mark (or something similar) in relation to identical or similar products and services for which the trade mark is registered (within the jurisdiction where the mark is registered). Whilst it may also prove necessary to show that there is a risk of confusion caused by the unauthorised use, there is no requirement to show that your trade mark has a reputation so as to demonstrate infringement.
Put another way, your right to the trade mark is established by its inclusion on the trade mark register. The mere fact of registration can prove to be a valuable deterrent to would-be infringers and is an asset that you, as a business, can exploit.
How our trade mark lawyers can help
At Nelsons, our expert team of lawyers frequently advises on trade mark issues, such as the preparatory steps to be taken when considering the launch of a new brand (such as clearance searches), as well as preparing and submitting your trade mark application to the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), for both new and established unregistered marks.
Our lawyers can advise on any objections or oppositions raised to your trade mark application by either the IPO or third parties and pursue the application through the registration process.
For businesses who already have a trade mark (registered or not) and are concerned that a third party application conflicts with that mark, we can advise on how to oppose that trade mark application, as well as whether Court proceedings could be appropriate.
Once a trade mark has been registered, our lawyers can help you maximise the value of your trade mark (e.g. through licensing) as well as helping you protect against unauthorised use, by advising on and acting for you in infringement proceedings.
If your business is international, our team can liaise with external advisors, so as to arrange for trade mark protection beyond the UK.
For more information on how our solicitors in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham can assist you, please call 0800 024 1976 or contact us via our online form for a guaranteed response.
"Nelsons Solicitors Limited's 'focused and talented' team provides 'excellent and prompt service', specialising in contentious and non-contentious trade mark, copyright and design right work, but the group's portfolio of experience also includes patent and passing off instructions.”Legal 500