What is trade mark registration, and why is it so important to get right?
Trademark registration allows you to apply to a national government bureau, such as the UK Intellectual Property Office’s Trade Marks Registry(UKIPO) or the European Trade Marks Registry (OHIM), to protect your special brand, company name, or product name so that others cannot use or profit from it.
Though you usually must obtain legal rights from country to country, in some cases you can apply to register trade marks in multiple countries, particularly if you seek out the services of a firm that specialise in trademark registration and operate on an international scale.
Reasons to register a trade mark
One of the most important reasons to apply for trademark registration is to get the legal right to prevent others from using your name in business and infringing your intellectual property.
It protects your unique trade mark from being altered, changed, or used without your consent or authorisation, and keeps others from profiting from your future success or ideas.
Conversely, going through the process of trade mark registration and obtaining ownership is the one way of knowing for certain that your trade mark is not already owned by another firm or person. Just because a company looks , well prepared meaning that they have developed products, conducted marketing research, and launched campaigns, does not mean that they are necessarily authorised to use the signs, slogans and brand names that they have chosen. Moving forward without knowing that you are the rightful owner of your trade mark is often an extremely costly and completely avoidable mistake that could cause you great embarrassment and damage your businessâ€™ good name. There are also the financial consequences to consider if you are forced to recall products, cease advertisement campaigns, or pay damages.
Race against time
Another thing that makes trademark registration so important for start-ups and SME enterprises is that in many countries, you can apply to protect your trade mark even before you have started to use it. Doing so means the security of knowing your trade mark is secure before committing to expensive research, development, or marketing costs.
Since it can be done even before other plans for business growth are executed, trademark registration should be sought out as soon as possible. This is because the UK Trade Mark Registry examines all new trade mark applications against all existing ones to ensure that there is no conflict. This means of course that once your application is approved, your trade mark is secure. What’s more, it means that during the review process, any conflicting marks that are filed after yours will be refused giving you protection from the moment you file for trademark registration.
The Trade Mark Registry works on the basis of’first come, first served’, and your cutting-edge business needs to get a trademark application prepared and filed at the head of the pack. This also stops your name being hijacked by your commercial enemies, competitors, aggrieved employees or anyone else that wants to steal and march on your business.
So make no mistake: the legal right to use a name can only be conferred by trademark registration. You have been warned. Do not rely on company names or URLs to protect your name because they don’t.
David McMillan from www.uktrademarkregistration.co.uk writes about the importance of trademark registration.