What is a trade mark?
Simply put, a trade mark is a symbol or indication of the origin of goods or services. Trade marks can be words, slogans, designs, gestures, sounds, colours and even smells. Trade marks and the brands they represent are invaluable to individuals and companies because of the information that they are capable of carrying. Even a simple shape can become iconic, and if properly built up, will instantly give consumers information about what your product is, the origin and the quality they can expect.
Registering your trade mark
When you register your trade mark, you have exclusive rights to use it in relation to the goods or services for which it is registered for ten years in the UK/Europe. This registration is renewable every ten years for an indefinite amount of time, so after your first registration, the trademark is yours for as long as you choose. Registration will also allow you to begin authorising or licensing others to use the mark, giving you the ability to exploit it commercially, and will make it much easier to protect anyone who potentially infringes it.
Why you should register your trade mark
Once registered, your trade mark can work for you. Its commercial exploitability will make it a valuable asset to your company, or your brand overall. Even If you have built your brand to a level of wide recognition, without registration, protecting your trademark can become much more expensive and time consuming. Unregistered trade marks will likely have to be fought off with an action for passing off instead of the much quicker and cheaper route of trade mark infringement. A trademark may be one of the most valuable assets your company owns, and you should ensure that it has all the protection that it deserves.