How To Use Trademarks for Your Business

If you have a logo or a sign and you want to stop others from legally being permitted to use it, you need to register your trademark. A trademark can come in the form of words, a logo or a combination of both and makes it easier for customers to identify your service. In the past, many business have failed to protect their intellectual property – their trademarks and original ideas etc – and therefore have had their operations compromised as a result. Making a trademark application is one of the most important things a business can do if they are to stop others from making money from their branding.

Taking Action

In the UK, trademarks are applied for with the Intellectual Property Office. Once a trademark application is granted, you have the exclusive licence to use it to promote your services in your country. Once you have registered your trademark you can take legal action against anyone using it without your blessing. You become able to sell it or licence it out if you wish too. You can still take action if someone is using your unregistered trademark, but you will have to prove that you are strongly associated with it and that the trademark has brought you success. You will also need to demonstrate that you stand to be harmed if someone else uses it.

Trademark Etiquette

Trademarks have to be distinctive, cannot describe your goods or services and cannot be offensive. They cannot be deceptive or likely to make the public think that you offer things that you don’t. Registered trademarks also need to be renewed every ten years in the UK for legal protection to be in place. If you don’t trade anywhere other than the UK, then simple UK trademark registration should suffice, ensuring that you are protected in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. However if you wish to start doing business in mainland Europe, you’ll need to apply for a Community Trademark. This ensures that your trademark is protected in all 27 of the EU countries. What’s attractive about a Community Trademark is that you only need to apply in one country to be protected across the whole area.

Seeking Expert Guidance

If you do find yourself feeling a little lost amongst all the legal complexities, you may decide to enlist the services of a trademark attorney. They will also be able to help with patent applications that you might be considering too if you have an innovative idea to protect. In fact, if you’re a startup, it’s ideal to start thinking about your intellectual property from the outset as neglecting to do so can lead to big problems further down the line. Once you have found a reputable and trustworthy trademark or patent attorney to work with, your legal circumstances and obligations can become a whole lot clearer. If your intellectual property is not protected, others can make significant money from your ideas or branding, without you being able to do much about it.

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