trade marks

Trade Marks

A Trade Mark is the way in which you identify and distinguish yourself and your goods or services from your competitors. It informs customers that the goods or services they are about to buy are from you, will be of a particular quality and they can expect all future purchases bearing your Trade Mark to be of equal quality.

A Trade Mark can take many forms, the most obvious and common of which is a word or words. Other common Trade Marks are logos or devices, such as the Shell device which is recognised worldwide as indicating petrol from a particular company, or the half-eaten apple which is used in relation to computers and other electronic products. Shapes, colours, smells or any combination of these can also be registered as your Trade Mark.

Registration of a Trade Mark gives a business a monopoly right to the mark in a particular territory in relation to relevant goods or services, enabling them to prevent unauthorised use of the same or a similar mark by others in respect of the same or similar goods and services.

The longer you use your mark, and the wider you have used it, the more well-known it will become. The more well-known the mark becomes, the greater the reputation which attaches to it and the greater its value to the business. Every day we all come across hundreds of registered Trade Marks and know immediately which shop we need to enter or what we are buying. Building up your reputation for your product enables your customers to buy with confidence and then come back for more.

If there is a registration then that reputation builds up to the benefit of the owner. If you haven’t registered your mark then somebody else could begin trading using the same or similar brand. It may be their product is vastly inferior to yours and your product now becomes associated with poor quality and your reputation and sales inevitably suffer.

Alternatively, if anybody else obtains registered rights in what you believe is your mark, they could actually prevent you from using it. Either way it may be that all the reputation gained from your hard work and your considerable expense in marketing and sales could be lost overnight and you are faced with the prospect of effectively starting your business again from scratch.

It is widely believed that registering their company name provides businesses with protection for their brand. This is quite simply not so. Registering a Company name only gives the right to prevent another business registering exactly the same name. In fact, even if you have registered your company name you do not necessarily even have a right to use it. If anybody else has that name, or even a similar name, registered as a Trade Mark, or even perhaps part of a Trade Mark, they could prevent you from trading under your company name.