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Why should I register my trade mark?

By Sarah Chatterley.

If you haven’t registered your trade mark and are not concerned about someone else using it, or you are relying only on your use of your trade mark to stop others from copying you, be aware that it is much harder and more expensive to take action without a registration.

It is harder and more expensive to take action against someone using your trade mark without a registration. A registered trade mark provides the following benefits:

  • It gives the owner the exclusive right to use the mark for the goods and/or services for which it is registered in the UK (or EU for a Community Trade Mark).
  • Simply by having an application or registration on the Trade Mark Register, and using TM or ® in your advertising and marketing materials, you are alerting your customers and competitors to the fact that you have taken steps to protect your trade mark. This demonstrates that your brand guarantees a level of quality for your goods and services.
  • Protecting your brand in this way indicates that you are aware of its value and that you actively watch for use of your mark by others. This may deter your competitors from copying your trade mark. 
  • A trade mark registration allows Trading Standards Officers or the police to bring criminal charges against counterfeiters when they use your trade mark. 
  • It is easier and cheaper to bring a trade mark infringement action than a legal action based on “passing off”.  Passing off is harder to prove, often needs a large quantity of evidence, and is based on your use, reputation and goodwill, and the likelihood of confusion in the marketplace resulting in damage to your business.

Your IP has a value – it is a property right and an asset of your business. This means that you can sell it, and it may increase the value of your business. It also means that you can authorise other people to use it, with a license. This often provides you with a revenue from royalties and is a very important part of franchising or reaching new markets or territories.

If you have a trade mark that you would like to register, please contact us to discuss your requirements

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