The Grand National 2016 – What Makes A Grand Trade Mark Registration?

AND the winner of this year’s Grand National winner at Aintree is..DRUM ROLL. ‘Rule The World’, followed by ‘The Last Samuri’ in second and ‘Vics Canvas’ in third position.  We do hope your bets materialised into wins!  Both Matt and Kate of Virtuoso were lucky this year and their horses came up with small wins so Congratulations to them!

It is incredible to think that actually, the majority of backers that placed bets on ‘Rule The World’, did so because they liked the name and its connection with Take That.  Other factors which gambling experts would consider such as the form, fitness and track record of the horse and jockey will simply not have crossed the minds of many Take That fans.

Fans could not thank the band enough on Twitter and Gary Barlow joined in with the tweets to his 4.2 million followers by posting ‘I imagine a lot of people on here had a bet on Rule the World? Congrats if you did x.’  Clearly, this is also a win-win situation for Take That as a band who will see an incidental plummet in hit album sales as a result of the 2016 Grand National.

So why are Horses named in this way?  Well, there is a system in place which is not so dissimilar to the trade mark system.  The British Horseracing Authority stipulates that the Horse must have a unique name which will remain with them for life.  If we take well known Horse ‘Shutthefrontdoor’, it is clear to see how this would be distinguishable in any race with the associated commentary.

Many of the Grand National Horse’s names would be perfectly capable of being registered as trade marks.  The marks ‘Grand National’ and the racecourse ‘Aintree’ have achieved trade mark status.

If we could offer you some key tips in your business to secure a winning and grand trade mark, they would be as follows:

  1. Choice Of Mark

The more unique and distinctive your brand name is the better.  It may be worth having a brainstorm of creative keywords and bouncing these off your team members or if possible taking the time to do the research with a branding expert.  We would aim for something simple, catchy and not descriptive of the goods or services that you offer.

  1. Checking The Current Landscape

Whilst choosing carefully look to see if your mark is already in use in the marketplace.  Simple searches online are the best starting point.  If you are to advertise and market your business online then obviously you need to check that corresponding domain names, twitter handles and facebook accounts available to tie in with any brand that you have shortlisted.  Before undertaking any registration for clients we always carry out a professional clearance search to flag up conflicting trade marks.

  1. Goods and Services

What goods and / or services do you offer to your customers under this brand?  Will these be the same in the future? A winning trade mark application will have these listed to cover your business both now and in the future.

  1. Territory

Think about which countries you trade in and where you need trade mark protection. A UK trade mark registration will only provide protection in the UK.  If you are trading online and shipping into Europe then an EU trade mark will probably be more relevant.  International registrations are also possible, although much more costly and we have put these in place for many of our clients.

  1. Hire a Professional Trade Mark Specialist

We have registered trade marks for years and we know all the pitfalls to avoid. We can ensure that you get your winning trade mark registered and that this provides the maximum protection.  Whilst it is possible to self file your application, the problems that can result can cause a much greater cost to your business in the long run.

  1. Maintaining your Trade Mark

Once you have a registered trade mark it will be valid for 10 years.  You need to ensure you use the mark for the goods/services registered to avoid any attack for ‘non-use’.  As you come up with further brands in your business, consider if these also need protection.  It is vital also that you keep a watch of what your competitors are doing in your field of business.  This way you can spot any infringements of your registered mark at the earliest opportunity.

Finally, it may be another year until you think about your bets for the next Grand National but perhaps now is the time to take a strategic look at the branding in your business.  It may be the case that you are about to launch new products and you are considering names and logos for these?  Alternatively, you could be looking at your existing unregistered marks and thinking that you should register them.  In any scenario, this is our specialist area and therefore do get in touch so that we can discuss further what protection you need.

This article is one of many that was featured in our spring hardcopy newsletter. If you would like a copy of our hardcopy newsletter, complete with some delicious yorkshire tea, please email us your name and address.

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