How to register a trademark
In this article, we'll cover:
How to register a trademark
You’ve recently launched your business and you want to make sure your brand is protected. Understandably, you want to know how to trade mark a name.
In this article, we’ll guide you through each stage of the process:
- Check if your trade mark is already registered
- Understand the trade mark classes you want to register in
- Apply to register your trade mark
How to find out if a trade mark is registered
Before you apply to register your trade mark, you must first search the trade marks database to check if anyone has registered the same or similar trade mark for the same or similar goods or services.
There are 45 classes, broken into different industries/areas of business. You can register a trade mark for your brand if it’s in a different class to a trade marked brand in another class.
As well as the UK database, you must also check the EU trade marks register on the European Union Intellectual Property Office website for any EU applications that were ‘pending’ on 1 January 2021. These applications have priority.
Understanding trade mark classes
Part of knowing how to copyright a name is understanding trade mark classes. This is the classification system that specifies the goods and/or services you’ll be using it on.
The classification system groups similar goods and services into 45 different classes and is used worldwide.
- Goods are in classes 1 – 34
- Services are in classes 35 – 45.
Search the UK trade mark classes here.
Applying to register your trade mark
Now that you’ve checked your trade mark name hasn’t already been registered, and you know which class/es you want to register in, you can apply to register your trade mark.
Apply to register your trademark on gov.uk.
There are rules around what you can and can’t register, for example, your trade mark must be unique and can include words, sounds, logos, colours, or a combination of these things.
However, your trade mark cannot be offensive, be misleading, be a 3D shape, be too common or non-distinctive, look too similar to state symbols like flags, or describe the goods or services it relates to in a generic way. Here’s the full list of what you can and cannot register.
And after you submit your trademark application?
Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll get feedback in up to 4 weeks. If the examiner has no objections to your application, it’ll be published in the trade marks journal for two months, during which time anyone can oppose it.
Any opposition will need to be resolved before your trademark can be registered. If there are no oppositions, you must wait two weeks after the end of the opposite period before your trade mark can be registered.
How much does it cost to register a trade mark?
To register a trade mark online costs as follows:
- A single online trade mark application covering one class is £170.
- An application for a single online trade mark registration in three classes is £270 (the additional two classes cost £50 each).
To fill in the paper forms to apply by post costs £200 for one class and £50 for each additional class.
How to register a trade mark worldwide
To register a trade mark worldwide, you’ll need to apply to the trade mark office in each country you want your brand protected in.
However, to speed up the process, you can use the European and international application systems as long as you’ve registered your trademark in the UK first.
- International trade mark protection is controlled by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Here’s a list of countries the trade mark application can cover.
- European trade mark protection is controlled by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). They cover trade mark protection in countries that are members of the EU.
- Before you register your trade mark, you’ll need to check it hasn’t already been registered. You can do this on the trade marks database.
- It is possible to register a trade mark for your brand if it’s in a different class to a trade marked brand in another class.
- Trade mark classes is the classification system that groups similar goods and services together. There are 45 classes.
- You can apply online to register your trade mark on the gov.uk website. You can apply by post if you wish.
- Trade mark protection lasts for 10 years, after which time you will need to renew.
- If you want trade mark protection in other countries, you’ll need to go through the European and international application systems.
Do I need a lawyer to register a trade mark?
For most basic trade mark registrations, you should be able to do it yourself without a lawyer.
Is it worth registering a trade mark?
When you trade mark your brand you can sell and license your brand, you can use the ® symbol next to your brand to show you own it, and you can take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission.
What are classes in trade mark UK?
Classes in trade mark represent the classification system that specifies the goods and/or services you’ll be using the trade mark on.
Similar goods and services are grouped into 45 different classes; ‘goods’ are in classes 1-34 and ‘services’ are in classes 35-45.