Businesses have names, just as you have a name, and the goodwill and reputation of the business becomes associated with that name. A trademark is a way of protecting such names and trading identities, such as in the form of a graphic or logo. Your business needs a trademark so that if somebody misuses the name then you can demonstrate ownership.
What is a Trademark?
A Trademark is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognisable sign, design, or expression that identifies your business and its products or services. It is a private right registered with the government which gives you proof of ownership enables you to take legal action against others who may use that trading identity without your permission. Although trademark registration isn’t compulsory, it’s extremely advisable and your trademark will become one of your most valuable assets as the reputation and goodwill in your business grows.
But I already own the company name!
Registering the name of the company means that you have ownership of a very specific name, Trading Limited. However, in day-to-day use it is quite normal that the Limited extension is not used or that products are differentiated by a particular product name. It is also quite common that company names are quite descriptive and not inherently protectable as trademarks.
Therefore owning a company name gives you very limited rights and all a copyist needs to do is leave off the Limited extension to avoid an accusation that they are misusing your company name.
It is therefore important to protect your trading identity in its various forms, both full and abbreviated and for the organisation as well as its products, since company products are often given a separate identity to the organisation.
Registering a trademark for your company is the best way to prevent other businesses from adopting and registering a similar name or trademark on Companies House. Once you have registered your trademark you then won’t need to go through the time and cost of rebranding and renaming your company should another company wish to use the same name.
First come first serve
Whilst there are protections in place if you have not registered your trading identity and another company does register it then it can be quite difficult to regain control and difficult in this sense means uncertain, costly and time-consuming. Intellectual property rights are in some ways similar to an insurance policy, the time to obtain the policy is before the problem arises.
Prevent your products or services from being copied
Unfortunately, either intentionally or unintentionally, there is a chance that another business will imitate your name and brand in order their sales. Without a registered trademark, it can be difficult to prevent unauthorised users from using your brand. If another business uses your branding this may impact your revenue, dilute your brand, and importantly damage your reputation through providing lower-quality goods and services which may appear to be associated with your company. All of which can be prevented through registering a trademark.
Protect your brand’s reputation
It can be very easy for other businesses to damage the reputation of your brand which you have dedicated your time and effort into building from the ground up, therefore the last thing you will want is for another business to your company name to their benefit.
Anyone can use your brand without your permission, and unless you have a registered trademark then it can be expensive and difficult to prevent the harmful use of your name or logo. Once registered, you can rely on your trademark to protect your business and reputation for the first 5 years after its registration, even without using it. The trademark will last for a total of 10 years after registration and can be renewed indefinitely, protecting your business in the logo run. Your trademark can also be expanded and amended once registered to protect new goods and services that you develop as your business grows, ensuring the future protection of your growing business.
Ensure you can take action against third parties if required
Attempting to take legal action against other businesses or individuals who are using your company name or logo without a registered trademark is incredibly difficult. The best piece of legal advice we can give you is to register your trademark as soon as possible. Once registered, you can take enforcement action to protect your rights and brand against third parties using the trademark without your permission. In doing so, you can prevent a third party from using the brand in the future and even seek damages for any harm they have caused to your business.
In addition, as a trademark owner, you will be able to make objections against future trademark applications which may conflict with your trademark interests. Ensuring that other businesses cannot adopt the same rights you have over your brand and that the future success of your business is not hindered.
Register a trademark for your business
Ultimately, the simple answer to the question ‘does your business need a trademark?’ IS YES. Registering your trademark isn’t something you should overlook and you can guarantee that trademark registration is always a worthwhile expense. The process of checking and correctly applying for a trademark requires expertise and this is how we can help you and your business.
The registration and protection of any Trademark can be complex and multi-faceted. If you would like further information or advice on registering or protecting a Trademark in the UK or EU, whether you are starting up a business or have been in practice for many years, please contact the highly experienced Trademarks team at PatProtect by email by telephone +01629 700363, or by sending us a message and we will be happy to advise and support you.
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