At Turner Little, we can help with all the details. From starting a business from scratch to helping you choose financial products. In this blog, we’re looking at how you can trademark and protect your company logo and branding. This is an area that can easily be forgotten in the exciting new stages of a business but, if you haven’t protected your brand legally, then you can hit problems further down the road.
Registering your logo as a trade mark protects you against third parties ripping you off, and serves as the ultimate security for the individuality of your brand. Here’s our step-by-step guide to registering a trademark.
STEP 1 – Decide what you are protecting
It’s possible to trademark a logo, or any combination of phrases, words, images, corporate colours or shapes under IP (intellectual property) law. Any symbol or design that is individual to your business can be trade marked with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The trademark must be distinctive, recognisable, unique and not just a description of your products or services. So, think about what you want to protect, that’s the basis for your trademark.
STEP 2 – Don’t infringe another trademark
Even if you don’t set out to infringe on someone else’s protected trademark, you can still be liable for legal action if you do. A crucial step in the trademark process is ensuring that your trademark hasn’t already been recorded by a different company. This applies whether you are looking to trademark a design, words and phrases or a combination of both to represent your brand. There are three different valid trademarks in the UK, and it’s important to search for all of them:
- Search the UK Trade Mark register at the IPO’s website
- Search the Community Trade Mark Register (CTM) at the Office for Harmonisation of the Internal Market’s website.
- Search the International Trade Mark Register. Any international trade mark that designates EM (European Union) or UK is valid here, so you must check these too at the World Intellectual Property Office website.
STEP 3 – Trademark your logo online
When you’re sure your mark is distinctive, and you’ve checked for any infringement possibilities, then it’s time to trademark the logo. While you can trademark your logo yourself, it’s a good idea to use a specialist trademark attorney or firm who specialise in trade mark registration. This is because the legal issues surrounding IP and trademarking are complex and should you make a mistake along the way, it could cost more time and money in the future.
STEP 4 – Complete and file your trademark application
Before you fill in your application, you must decide on the size of the geographical area that you want protection for. You have two options:
- Community trademark
- UK trademark
A community trademark will protect you across all 27 countries within the EU. Each option is entirely different in terms of how long it takes and how much it costs. A community trademark is roughly 2.5 times the amount of a UK trademark, and the process of registration takes between nine and 12 months, while the UK’s is just five months.
STEP 5 – Use your logo
After the process is completed and your trademark application is registered, your logo is protected as your IP. This means you can go ahead and use it anywhere you like, secure in the knowledge that you’re legally protected if someone decides to copy it.
For help with registering your logo as a trademark in the UK and further afield, contact the team at Turner Little. We have lots of experience in the fastest and most convenient way for you to trademark to achieve your business goals. We’re always happy to help.
About Turner Little
Founded in 1998 in Yorkshire, UK, Turner Little is a specialist UK and offshore company formation, banking and corporate services provider. Our services include company formation, UK and offshore banking, asset protection, credit correction/repair, trademarking and trusts.
For more information, please contact us on 01904 783101.