As we take steps to disentangle ourselves from the EU and make our mark in the wider global economy this may be a good time to consider any brand recognition marks you may be using and give serious consideration to getting them registered.
There is a formal registration process linked to the gov.uk website, see https://www.gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark/apply
A summary of what you can and cannot register are set out below:
Your trade mark must be unique. It can include:
- a combination of any of these
Your trade mark cannot:
- be offensive, for example contain swear words or pornographic images
- describe the goods or services it will relate to, for example the word ‘cotton’ cannot be a trade mark for a cotton textile company
- be misleading, for example use the word ‘organic’ for goods that are not organic
- be a 3-dimensional shape associated with your trade mark, for example use the shape of an egg for eggs
- be too common and non-distinctive, for example be a simple statement like ‘we lead the way’
- look too similar to state symbols like flags or hallmarks, based on World Intellectual Property Organization guidelines
It is advisable to search the trade marks’ database before you send your application to check if anyone has already registered an identical or similar trade mark for the same or similar goods or services.
You can ask the holder of an existing trade mark for permission to register yours. They must give you a ‘letter of consent’ - you must send this letter with your application.