Trade mark registration
Obtaining full registration of a trade mark takes about three months even in the most straightforward cases, though as soon as the application is made priority will be preserved against any later applicants. Incorporation Services Limited provides an expert service for all your trade mark registration requirements. An outline of the procedure is a follows:
The first stage is usually to undertake a full search to assess the registrability of the proposed mark, especially if a logo is involved. This will look at any registered, lapsed and pending trade marks which are similar in any way, so as to provide the detailed information as to the acceptability of the proposed mark. The law and practice of trade mark registration is more complex than people suppose.
The application must be submitted on the official forms. The information required will be the name and address of the proprietor of the trade mark, a full description of the goods or services and full details of the proposed mark, including camera-ready copy of the logo, if there is one. The forms can be submitted on paper or electronically through the Intellectual Property Office website.
The application is first examined by the Registry. If no objections are raised during examination, the application may proceed to publication in the Trade Marks Journal. If there are similar trade marks already registered, the Registry will notify the owners of those marks to see if they wish to object to the application proceeding. If they do, it can be a lengthy and expensive process resolving the issue. Quite apart from those trade mark owners notified by the Registry, a published application will remain open to opposition by third parties for a period of 2 months. If no objections are received during this period, the application will proceed to registration and a certificate will be issued. The certificate is backdated to the date of application.
Opposition and conflict with other marks
Objections to the registration of a proposed trade mark may be overcome by obtaining a letter of consent from the owners of any conflicting marks, or by arranging for a hearing before the Registrar. In many cases the hearing can be conducted by prearranged telephone conversation.
Who may register a trade mark?
Any trade mark owner, whether a British subject or not. The mark must be used or proposed to be used in the United Kingdom.
Can a trade mark be registered in other countries?
Yes. Most countries have a system for the registration of trade marks. A European Community trade mark can be registered at the office for harmonisation of the Internal Market in Alicante. This will provide protection in all the countries of the European Union including the UK. If trade mark protection is required in more than one EU country, registration of a Community Trade Mark may be the cheapest and most effective option. The difficulty, however, is that if the mark is found unacceptable in one EU country, then the application will be refused.
A trade mark can also be registered in other countries both within and outside the European Union. In most countries the procedure and classification of goods and products are similar to those in the UK, though the detailed rules, registration procedures and costs vary from country to country. Many different countries can be covered by one application under the terms of the Madrid Convention.
The Trade Mark Registry's own website gives further information about trade marks.
Incorporation Services Limited provide a comprehensive trade mark search and registration service.