Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Protect your good name

Did you know that just because you have registered your company name with Companies House or have registered it as a domain name this does not mean that you have a registered trade mark?

If you have been trading for some time you will have a lot of goodwill invested in your brand and you will not want anyone else pretending to be associated with it or hijacking its reputation.

For this reason you may want to consider protecting your brand, trademark or logo by registering it with the Intellectual Property Office.

You can find out more about this on their website:

Registering your trade mark gives you the exclusive right to use your mark for the goods and/or services that it covers in the United Kingdom.

When you have registered your trade mark you can put the ® symbol next to it to warn others against using it. However, using this symbol for a trade mark that is not registered is an offence.

The advantages of a registered trade mark are:

    • it may put people off using your trade mark without your permission

    • it allows you to take legal action against anyone who uses your trade mark without your permission

    • it allows Trading Standards Officers or Police to bring criminal charges against counterfeiters if they use your trade mark

    • it is your property, which means you can sell it, or let other people have a licence that allows them to use it.

If you don't register your trade mark, you may still be able to take action if someone uses your mark without your permission, using the common law action of "passing off".

but it can be very difficult and expensive to prove this so by registering your trade mark, it is easier to take legal action if you need to.

There are around 200 trademarks registered every week so the availability of certain combinations of words are becoming limited by the day.

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