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Trade Marks


What is a trade mark?

A trade mark can take many forms. It can be a word, a logo, a shape, in fact, a trade mark is anything which distinguishes one product or service from others and indicates where it comes from.

Each time you have a novel product, method or system you should consider patent protection. If your product has unique design features, you may obtain a monopoly which may give you a weapon to deter others from copying your design. If your goods or services are identified by a badge, sign or brand name, you should consider trade mark protection.

How to protect a trade mark?

Search

Before commencing use of a new business, product or service name, we recommend that you search the registry for existing marks that may conflict with your new application. This is to ensure that the use of your chosen name does not infringe any existing registered trade marks.
Conducting a trade mark search could save your business money. The last thing any business would want to do, after building up a reputation in a name or commencing use of a new name (and printing stationery), is re-brand. A trade mark search will confirm that you are free to use your chosen name.

Register

In order to protect a name from imitators, a business needs to register it for the goods and/or services which they sell in the countries where they intend to trade.

It is possible to register trade marks in over 200 countries around the world. This can be done by individual applications in single countries, or under the Community Trade Mark or International Registration systems. The CTM covers the whole of the EU and is organised through a central registry in Alicante. The International Registration can cover as many or as few of the member countries as you like from an ever growing list via a central office in Geneva.

Generally, trade mark registrations last for 10 years and can be renewed for further 10 years periods, forever.

Trade Mark Notices

Once registered, ® may be put next to your trade mark and on all publicity material.

Before registration, or in other jurisdictions where you have no registrations or in respect of other goods or services, TM or SM may be used next to the trade mark.

We recommend that a trade mark notice is used e.g., "[TRADE MARK] is the registered trade mark of [name of owner]", where appropriate.

We further recommend that TM is used in respect of trade marks on websites because they can be viewed throughout the world and it is unlikely that the trade mark will be registered in every country where it can be viewed.


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