It is possible to register a Trade Mark in the form of a word/s and/or pictorial subject matter in respect of goods or services. The register of Trade Marks is divided up into a number of classes (42 classes) covering different goods and services so that a Trade Mark may need to be registered in one or more classes depending upon those goods or services with which the mark is to be used.
Where a Trade Mark has not been used before, it is advisable for a clearance search to be made to establish whether or not the same or a similar mark has been used in connection with the same or similar goods. It is inadvisable to use a Trade Mark which is the same as, or very similar to, a very famous brand name even if the Trade Mark is to be used on dissimilar goods. Where a Trade Mark is being used, not to apply to register the mark can result in loss of Trade Mark rights where another party applies to register the same mark for the same goods at a later date. In order for an unused Trade Mark to be registrable it has to be inherently distinctive or capable of distinguishing goods from those of another trader. Thus, the mark should not be directly descriptive of the goods or laudatory.
A capital letter R in a circle may be used to denote a registered Trade Mark and the capital letters TM in a circle may be used to denote the use of a Trade Mark which has not yet been registered.
It is not possible to amend the Trade Mark as applied for before registration although it possible to apply for a series of Trade Marks in one application at the outset.
It is possible to register all sorts of signs as Trade Marks, for example, smells or sounds. A big advantage of a Trade Mark is that there is no restriction on the length of term and the Trade Mark can be renewed indefinitely, unlike Patents and Registered Designs.
It is possible to obtain an International Trade Mark Registration and also a European Community Trade Mark Registration.
The registration of a Trade Mark at the Trade Marks Registry has nothing to do with registering a company name at Companies House. To register a Trade Mark, the mark is subject to rigorous examination by the Trade Marks Registry and once registered confers statutory rights. The register at Companies House is merely a record of company names and does not confer any rights whatever. Registration at Companies House merely means that no other company has been recorded on the register which has an identical name but use of that company name could still infringe another party's statutory rights.
The cost of applying to register a Trade Mark will depend on the number of classes of the register involved and on the number of marks and artwork required.The initial filing costs may be about £480 + VAT for a straightforward application.