Once you have checked your chosen trademark complies with the necessary guidelines and is totally unique across all three valid UK directories, you are ready to apply for a trademark for your logo.
Things to know when you apply for a trademark
First you need to decide the area over which you want to protect your mark. Do you need to protect your logo just within the UK, or across all of Europe? A community trademark (covering Europe) is around 2.5 times the price of a UK mark, and the registration process takes between nine and 12 months, as opposed to four to five months for the British equivalent. However, the major benefit of the community mark is that, you are protected in all 27 countries of the EU.
Trademarks are registered by class, so you will need to classify the goods and services on which you are going to use the mark. There are 45 classes covering all sorts of materials used to make the goods your business may offer as well the provision of services to a multitude of distinct industries, among many others. A good classification guide can be found on the UK Intellectual Property Office website (www.ipo.gov.uk/t-class-guide.htm)
How to apply for a trademark
To apply for a trade mark you need to get hold of the relevant forms. These can either be found on the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) website to download, or mailed in the post. The initial logo trademark application form is called the TM3 and if you apply online you can choose from two packages with discount options, beginning at £170 for a standard service, single class trade mark. There is then a £50 additional charge for every extra class of goods or services added on top of this.
Consider the name of the person or business you wish to register as the legal owner of the trademark, always keeping in mind that a trademark is a type of property. This can have huge implications for the future of your logo. For example, if you are a limited company and register your mark in the name of the business, it would transfer to a new owner, should you move on, as it is the legal property of the company, and not tied to you as an individual.
Enforcing your trademark
Although you don’t have to use a trademark symbol, it is a good idea to enforce trademark relating to your logo once the application is completed. The ® symbol or abbreviation “RTM” will show that your mark is on a protected register and may deter someone from imitating it.
The ® symbol is usually placed to the right side of the trademark, in a smaller font size than the trademarked phrase itself and slightly raised off the standard text line – although none of this needs to applied, it is just the custom way to write it. It is illegal to use the symbol ® or “RTM” on a mark that is not registered anywhere in the world, although you are not breaking the law if you use “TM” on an unregistered trademark. “TM” does not indicate your trademark is actually registered, and simply indicates that you are using the phrase indicated as a trademark. “TM” carries no legal significance in the UK.
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For more information please visit www.ipo.gov.uk