Trademark registration: what you need to know
Businesses rely on brands to stand out in their marketplace. In essence, a brand is a sign (e.g. typically a name, slogan, logo) which is recognisable to the buying public. Registered trademarks are a legal way to protect these brands or those which are legally too similar from being used by someone else.
At Virtuoso Legal, we assist businesses in tailoring and securing the best possible trademark application to ensure that the registration our clients receive is as strong as possible. For our clients, this means that their distinct and unique presence in the marketplace is protected and able to be strongly enforced.
We help businesses register their brands as trademarks in the UK, and also in the EU, US, China and worldwide.
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Learn more about trademark registration and the process we follow below.
What is a trademark?
Trademarks are registered intellectual property rights which protect signs that businesses typically use as brands. These brands are used to designate the origin of goods and services to the buying public and, over time, become valuable reputational assets to a business.
Trademarks grant the trademark owner a monopoly right over the use of that sign - in essence, meaning that no one else can use that brand (subject to the classifications it is registered in, as well as the jurisdiction of the right, more on this below).
Trademarks are jurisdictional rights. This means that if you register a trademark it only grants you protection for activity in the jurisdiction that it is registered. For this reason, it is important to make sure that you register trademarks in the marketplaces that matter most to your business.
Trademarks are registered in classifications which specify the goods and services which you wish to seek protection for. The purpose of this is to allow for the co-existence of brands across different types of goods and services.
Registered trademarks can include a number of different types of marks, including but not limited to: words, logos, colours, sounds, 3D shapes, holograms and more. For more information about the different kinds of trademarks and the classifications they can be registered in, click below to read our guide.
What can be registered as a trademark? Quick Answer
To read more in-depth information about trademarks in general, read our trademark guide below.
What is a trademark?
Why not register a trademark myself?
It is possible for business owners to register a trademark themselves by submitting an application to the relevant intellectual property office. However, more often than not this can result in a range of problems which are ultimately more costly in the long run. In the next section, we will outline the benefit of seeking expert assistance in the preparation and submission of a trademark application. What follows in this section is a non-exhaustive list of examples of pitfalls that may occur if you seek to self-file a trademark registration.
- The trademark is not able to function as a trademark and is refused by the examiner - there are certain types of brands that can and cannot be registered as trademarks. Once an application is made, it is reviewed by the trademark examiner. If the mark cannot function as a trademark in this way it will be refused outright. There are no refunds for when this occurs and this also typically results in a significant loss of time.
- The trademark has not received full clearance and is opposed, invalidated or provokes an infringement claim - trademark law is very specific about what constitutes an infringement of existing trademarks, whether identical or similar. Clearance of a trademark prior to application is important to avoid opposition, invalidation or infringement proceedings which are extremely costly and can derail business growth.
- The trademark specification is not precise - trademark applications must carefully specify not only what classifications the trademark is sought to be applied in, but furthermore specific use and planned use within those classifications. Imprecise specifications can result in problems relating to enforcement and trademark validity down the line.
- The trademark being applied for does not cover what is sought to be protected - trademark specialists are acutely aware of how a brand is best protected, and what exactly should be registered to achieve the strongest protection over a brand. Self-filers often fall foul of this, registering a "weaker" mark, or registering something which does not actually protect their key reputational asset.
Have you self-filed a trademark application and have encountered these issues? Get in touch with our team to receive support in relation to your trademark application by clicking below.
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What are the Benefits of help from trademark registration experts?
Trademark registration specialists (such as ourselves) approach trademark registration as a commercial activity. The key here is ensuring that the business secures the best possible protection for its brand, maximising the value of the trademark to the business as an intangible asset. Benefits of instructing a specialist include:
- Trademark review and adjustment - reviewing the proposed trademark and advising any adjustments required in order to pass an examination from the intellectual property office
- Expert trademark clearance - full clearance of the brand, identifying identical and similar brands that may cause issues during registration and providing advice and analysis of risk
- Brand landscaping - determining the commercial footprint of the brand now and in the future to ensure that the trademark registration meets your commercial goals
- Tailored trademark specifications - authoring of the trademark specification within the application to ensure the broadest scope of protection and limit the risk of opposition
- Negotiation and representation in opposition - outreach and negotiation as it relates to other trademarks which may block the registration, where relevant
- Trademark registration gap analysis - identification of opportunities within the relevant trademark registers to extend your brand protection
- Trademark watching services - oversight of trademarks in order to enforce the boundaries of the brand if and when infringers enter the market
Crucially, assistance from trademark registration specialists, such as ourselves helps you secure the best possible asset, and avoid a range of issues that can occur from applying for a trademark without the required expertise and experience.
To speak to our team of trademark specialists in relation to registering a trademark, click the button below.
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how long does it take to register a trademark?
The length of time it takes to register a trademark can vary, depending on how smooth the process goes.
For our clients, the typical amount of time it takes to register a trademark is 4-6 months, from submission of the tailored trademark application to its full registration.
It is important to note, however, that once a trademark has been registered, in certain jurisdictions it grants the trademark owner rights from the day that it was registered (i.e. the rights are backdated to the date where the submission was received). Speak to a trademark specialist to learn more about this.
what is the trademark registration process?
The trademark registration process we follow at Virtuoso Legal is as follows:
- Review of the proposed trademark
- Advice and adjustments where necessary
- Trademark clearance
- Drafting of the trademark application and specification
- Submission of the trademark application
- Review of the trademark application by IPO examiner
- (If not refused by examiner) publication of proposed trademark in trademark journal
- Opposition window
- (If not opposed after 3 months) publication of the trademark
As above, the process of registering a trademark takes between 4-6 months to reach publication, should no issues arise.
How much does it cost to register a trademark?
The cost of a trademark varies depending on where it is being registered and the number of classifications that it is being registered in.
- Amount of classifications - each separate classification requires its own clearance search to determine what pre-existing trademarks may cause an issue. This takes more time and typically results in a higher cost.
- Jurisdictions - different jurisdictions (or multiple jurisdictions) can often mean registering a trademark via multiple registrations (although not always). This can mean payment to different intellectual property offices to secure the brand. In addition to this, in some countries, it is a legal requirement for a local agent to make these registrations (e.g. in the USA) which can cause an increase in fees.
Where possible we apply the best possible registration strategy to minimise the cost for our clients and optimise coverage both in terms of classification and jurisdiction.
As a ballpark figure, to register a trademark in the UK and receive all the benefits listed above, we typically charge in a fee range of £900-£1200+VAT - although this is subject to the specific requirements of our clients. Note for this cost we ensure that the best possible brand is secured for our clients via a tailored application.
Looking for a quote for our team to handle your trademark application? Click the button below to contact our team and arrange a discovery call.
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Register your trademark today
Looking to register your trademark today?
Our trademark registration team at Virtuoso Legal are ready to help you secure the best possible brand for your business.
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