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House marks and product names

By Sarah Chatterley.

The best trade marks are those which are totally invented, have no meaning and do not allude in any way to the products or services which are provided. Don’t restrict your business by picking a trade mark or name which is descriptive or which will limit you in future for example LEICESTER DOUBLE GLAZING SERVICES. As well as being difficult to register, a restrictive trade mark may give the impression that "double glazing" is the only product offered and such a geographically restricted name does not provide the opportunity to branch out.

Think of famous names such as VIRGIN, APPLE and TESCO. If you didn’t know of these companies already you would not know what you were buying. This is the difference between house marks and product line trade marks. 

Your house mark is the umbrella for your company. It could be the same as your registered company name or it might just be one of a number of trading names for different qualities of product or different markets.

A house mark covers a range of products or services which could be sub-branded. APPLE INC has protected its iPOD, iPAD, iMAC, MAC, Mackintosh, ibook, iPhone and iTunes trade marks amongst others since these are brand names for particular items in their range.

Virgin, through its various trading companies has protected some of its activities with the marks VIRGIN ATLANTIC, VIRGIN MEGASTORE, VIRGIN TRAINLINE, VIRGIN RADIO, but the mark VIRGIN on its own is also protected for a wide range of products and services.

Tesco has protected METRO, BREAKFAST BOULDERS, COUNTRY MARKET, IN HEAVEN WITH CHOCOLATE, BUTTER ME UP, ADVANCE, NATURE’S CHOICE for different types of ranges of product as well as registering TESCO as a trade mark.


This news item may contain information of general interest about current legal issues, but does not contain legal advice.