A Quick Guide to Trade Marks

Intellectual property is a key asset of a business and thus protecting your brand and trademarks is vital.

Why register a Trade Mark?

Registering your trade mark gives you the exclusive right to use that mark for the goods or services for which it is registered.

Protecting your trade mark via a registration is important to protect your brand’s name and/or logo, and the goodwill and reputation associated it. This will also help to distinguish and strengthen your brand from your competitors.

Moreover, a successful registration provides you with statutory protection which gives you clear rights to enforce in the event of a third-party infringing upon your brand. A registration can also sometimes act as a deterrent from others attempting to use your mark or create similar branding.

In the absence of a registration, an unregistered trade mark may only be protected under the common law of passing off. Unlike the statutory protection afforded by a trade mark registration, under the law of passing off it is necessary to actually prove that the trade mark has a reputation with associated “good will“, and that there has been confusion with consumers. This can be difficult and expensive to prove.

As the UK operates a “first to file” system for registered trade marks it is therefore important to apply for your trade mark at the earliest opportunity. 

At Spire we can provide you with advice, file an application to register your trade mark on your behalf and guide you at each stage of the process.

Selling your Business?

Since a registered trade mark provides you with strong brand recognition, this can be valuable if you are considering selling your business.

By registering your brand’s name and/or logo this can assist in strengthening your asset portfolio to potential buyers.

You can even decide what you want to sell or retain as part of the overall business sale and at Spire we can help you consider what to register in the context of your wider intellectual property considerations and business strategy as well as file an application to register your trade mark on your behalf.

Licencing your trade mark

If you wish to retain ownership of some or all or your trade marks but would like to permit use to a third party, you can simply licence your trade mark to that party, via a trade mark licencing agreement. Such an agreement can assist you in setting out the parameters of the terms on which you wish the other party to use the trade mark, for how long and the fees you wish to charge the other party.

Sponsorship Agreements

If you wish to provide sponsorship, such as for an event using your company name and/or trade mark, you will retain ownership but can restrict the use via a sponsorship agreement in order to retain protection over your brand and your business reputation.