Firstly, think about what it is you want to protect. You can trademark your logo, a combination of words, images, phrases, shapes or corporate colours under protection law. In fact, any unique symbol or design that distinguishes your business is eligible for trademarking with the UK Intellectual Property Office. You cannot simply register a word featuring in the dictionary word, or words, that are generally used to describe the service you are offering. You must make sure your trademark is distinctive, and not merely descriptive of the product or service that you offer.
Trademark infringement may require legal action, even if accidental. To avoid this, before you decide to trademark your logo, you need to make sure the mark has not been recorded by another company.
There are three types of valid trademark in the UK, and all need to be searched.
If your mark is distinctive and you have checked the trademark registers to ensure there is no chance of infringement, then you are ready to proceed with trademarking your logo.
It is possible to trademark your logo yourself online, however, the legalities of trademarking can be intricate. If you begin to trademark your logo and later encounter an issue, it may cost you more time and money in the long run, than if you had received advice along the way.
If you choose to use a trademark attorney in the UK, make sure they are listed by the trade body at the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys
Once you’re ready to fill out your application, the next step is to decide how wide geographically you want to protect your logo. There are two options: a UK trademark or a community trademark (which will protect you in all 27 companies of the EU). The two differ greatly in terms of cost and the length of the process.
After your application has been processed – an estimated four to five months for a UK mark or nine to twelve months for a community mark – your logo will be fully protected as your intellectual property. You can then use your logo design secure in the knowledge that you are protected should a third party decide to imitate it.
Ready to get started with your logo? Speak to Small Business Logos