Brighton Chamber: Tips on trade marking

Clare Mann is a partner at Dehns, a leading European firm of specialist patent and trademark attorneys.
Clare Mann is a partner at Dehns, a leading European firm of specialist patent and trademark attorneys.

A trade mark informs the public that a product or service comes from a particular commercial source.

The most common trade marks are brand names, e.g. Lego, Chanel, Coca-Cola, logos, e.g. Audi’s interlinked circles, and slogans, e.g. Because you’re worth it.

Over time, they can become extremely valuable assets, influencing consumer opinion and fashions. Here are a few things worth thinking about when considering a new trade mark.

1. Pick the right name

Picking a brand name which is descriptive of the products/services being offered might seem a good idea but, from a legal perspective, it is a recipe for disaster. The strongest brand names are those which are invented or meaningless in relation to the products/services in question - think APPLE computers or ADIDAS sportswear.

2. Search existing marks

You may believe you have come up with an amazing new brand name but, if you have not carried out searches of existing trade marks, there is no guarantee you will be free to use that name.

3. Register your trade mark

Obtaining a registration for your trade mark in respect of the products/services that you intend to offer provides you with legal certainty. A registration will enable you to stop others using marks which are confusingly similar to yours.

4. Ensure your registration covers the right products/services

Once a trade mark application has been filed, the list of products/services that it covers cannot be expanded. Therefore, it is important to think about exactly what you intend to offer and make sure everything of interest is covered.

5. Use a Professional

Chartered trade mark attorneys are experienced professionals who can provide advice on all aspects of trade mark law, carry out searches for new marks, and guide you through the trade mark registration process, helping you to avoid common pitfalls.

Clare Mann is a partner at Dehns, a leading European firm of specialist patent and trademark attorneys. She will be answering questions on intellectual property and trade mark issues at an upcoming Brighton Chamber Mega Bite-sized Learning: How to brand your business, on September 26. For more information on upcoming Brighton Chamber Bite-sized Learning sessoions or to find out more about the Chamber, visit: {http://www.businessinbrighton.org.uk/events|www.businessinbrighton.org.uk/events