What is a trade mark?
A trade mark is a sign - your logo or brand - that a customer uses to distinguish your products and services from those of your competitors. So if they have a positive experience they can repeat it and if they have a negative experience they can avoid it.
Types of trade marks
Words, sounds, logos, colours or a combination of these can qualify as a trade mark.
Applications for trade marks fail for the following reasons:
- Descriptive and Not Distinctive Your trade mark cannot be something that merely describes the products and/or services that you offer. Such signs should remain available for everybody: for you and your competitors.
- Similar to an already registered trade mark If you use a brand that is already registered as a trade mark you will be infringing a registered right. This is not allowed as it causes confusion in the marketplace.
- Protected words and symbols Some words and symbols are protected and cannot be used or registered as a trade mark. Flags and Royal names are an example.
- Geographical region The name designates a place which is already associated in the public’s mind with the goods services claimed. For example Cornish Pasty and Champaign so these products can only come from Cornwall or Champaign region.
- Deceptive marks If your mark is likely to mislead consumers as to the quality or kind or place it comes from, then it can be refused for being deceptive.
- Bad Faith If someone has not applied to register the trade mark and you decide that you will simply to force them to pay you money or to stop them using their own name, this may be deemed as a bad faith application. It usually happens where business partners fall out or an employee starts on their own and attempts to take the goodwill of the brand with them. If the owner can prove it was filed in bad faith the application could be refused or cancelled.
Consumers should be able to recognise your brand as only available from you. It should be unique and distinguish your business from others, which means that you can protect and build your brand identity and value.
Trademark Tribe provides specialist trademark advice. We will give you our expert opinion on whether your proposed trade mark meets the necessary criteria to function as a trade mark and whether it is registrable. We work with ambitious small to medium sized companies who value their brand and would like to protect it. We will help keep your brand unique in the marketplace.