Registering a trademark is an essential step to protecting your name, brand, and work. Many new business owners don’t realize that most basic trademark registrations can be done without any additional legal help. Below, you will find a step-by-step overview of the trademark application process to help you navigate your registration.
You can submit a trademark application online, using the IPO’s online system for a trademark application, an online trademark filing service, or you can send a paper application to IPO by post. Before the trademark application process, you want to start with a trademark search and ensure your trademark is available.
What can you register?
Your trademark can include:
a combination of any of these
At the same time, you must make sure that the trademark you are trying to register is not:
Generic (like “shoes” for a shoe business or “best ice cream” for an ice cream shop)
Descriptive (describe the goods or services it will relate to, for example, the word ‘cotton’ cannot be a trademark for a cotton textile company)
Misleading (for example, use the word ‘organic’ for goods that are not organic)
Offensive (for example, containing swear words or pornographic images)
Still not sure how to choose an appropriate name for your brand? We put together a handy article Words to avoid when choosing a trademark to help you avoid any potential issues.
How much does it cost?
The standard fee for a trademark application is £170. It will usually cost more depending on your circumstances, for example, how many types of goods or services you want to protect your brand. Each additional class will cost around £50.
If you have several versions of your trademark (for example, different colours of your logo), you may be able to make a series application. This covers up to 6 variations and costs less than registering them all separately.
What is the application process?
To begin the application, you must send details of your trademark and the goods or services you want to use your trademark on to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
Your application must include:
Details of what you want to register, for example, the written words or slogan you want to use or an illustration
The trademark classes and terms you wish to register
After you send the application, the IPO will:
Examine your application (within two weeks)
Search for similar trademarks, and contact the holder directly if they find one
Publish your application in the trademarks journal, providing there are no objections for two months). If your application is not opposed, your mark will be registered two weeks later.
If there are any issues, the IPO will let you know. You will have to resolve them before you can register your trademark. After that, you can either talk to the person making the opposition, withdraw your application, or defend your application legally (which will include additional legal costs).
What happens after?
After your application is reviewed, the IPO will:
Register your trademark around three months after you apply if it has not been objected to or opposed.
Send you a certificate to confirm your trademark is registered. You can then:
Object to other people’s trademarks, for example, if you think they are identical or similar to yours.
Sell, market, license, and mortgage your trademark.
As easy as the application process sounds, the final registration success will depend on how much research you conducted before application. You must be careful to ensure you get the protection you need without going too far and putting your trademark at risk of cancellation. If you are still unsure, start with our free lawyer’s check to ensure that your trademark is registrable and the chances of receiving opposition are minimal.