Trade Mark Your Business Name The Right Way

17 January 2013

In this article we’ll be looking at what trade marks are and how to Trade mark your business in the right way.

What is a trade mark exactly?

A Trade mark can be a words or logos or both, which are legally registered to represent a company or product in a specific industry.

They can not be registered if they;

  • are not distinctive
  • are offensive
  • are against the law – for example promoting illegal drugs
  • are deceptive – false advertising is not accepted
  • describe your products/ services, for example ‘fashionable clothes’ or ‘open 24/7’.

Does my business need one?

Every business no matter how big or small should protect its brand with a trade mark. You can’t trade without a one after all, how would customers identify you? Think about what would happen if someone else used your trade mark or a very similar one, how would that affect your business? A customer could confuse your business with another, resulting in them purchasing products from somewhere else.

What are the different types of trade marks?

Ordinary trade mark
The most of products and services will come under the ‘ordinary’ marks. These types of marks will indicate the trade origin by linking the owner of the mark to the product/ service and visa versa.

Certification
A certification is a very specific type of mark. It is any word, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce with the owner’s permission by someone other than its owner.  It provides a guarantee that products/ services who have the mark, meet a certain standard or characteristic.  The standards and characteristics will be defined by the owner of the mark. These types of marks are usually registered in the name of trade associations or government departments and similar.

Collective
A collective mark is another specific type. It means that the products or services originate from a trade association as opposed to just one trader.

What about internet domain names?

Your Internet domain name is what your business is known by online. It’s normal for it to incorporate the company name into the domain name. However, if you are the owner of a trade mark, it doesn’t automatically make you the owner of the domain name, as someone may have already legally registered it.

If you would like to register a domain name, you must apply for an accredited register.

What if my business extends into Europe?

If you business grows and extends into Europe you can get a community Mark which will protect you for all EU countries. As for countries that are not in the EU, you can possibly get more local national registrations or sometimes an International Registration is obtainable. But remember you will only benefit from registration in the countries where your trade mark is actually registered.

Conclusion

Although registering a trade mark can be a bit complicated to get your head around, it doesn’t need to be expensive. For more information about trade marks or anything else please get in touch.