Top Tips for Trade Marks
by Marcella Clarke
Useful tips as to why you should register your brand name as a trade mark?
1. Is your brand name available? Before you launch your business or product it is wise to check no one else is using it or has registered it as a trade mark. As a registered trade mark expert, I can perform an availability search and identify any obstacles your brand might face.
2. Is your brand name strong enough? It is always easier to register a trade mark that is distinctive, memorable, easy to pronounce and emotionally appealing. Stand out from the crowd. A strong name makes it easier to stop other competitors using a similar mark.
3. Register your brand as a trade mark. This will put other competitors on notice that you own your brand and deter them from using a similar one themselves. Once you own a trade mark it will give you legal standing to bring infringement proceedings against any competitor using your brand without your permission.
4. If someone challenges your trade mark or tries to make you stop using it the chances of success may come down your registered trade mark and the documents you keep. In any legal proceeding the first-person rule applies. The first to file and register a trade mark gets legal protection.
5. You can register a trade mark even if you haven’t started using it yet. However, it is important to use your trade mark within a period of five years from the date of registration as it can be revoked. If you are not using your trade mark, another competitor can apply to the trade marks office to have your mark taken off the register and then they might start using your mark. Use your trade mark or lose it.
6. Is your business going global? You can file trade marks in Europe in one simple application or you can file an international application through the Madrid system, where you designate all of the countries you want to do business in. Each country has different trade mark laws so I can advice on the best strategy when filing overseas trade mark application.
7. Do you register a brand name or logo? Registering a brand name and registering a logo is very different. A brand name gives protection solely for the name. In contrast to a logo or a stylised word mark you get protection for the visual elements of that mark. There are benefits to both but sometimes the word name may be too descriptive and would not qualify for trade mark protection but a logo with distinctive visual elements may be the best option.
8. Once a trade mark is registered it is exclusively yours for life or until such time as you no longer use it. As your business expands and reputation grows the more valuable your brand will be and you can enter into licensing agreements, franchising agreements and even sell your brand.
9. A trade mark is the most valuable business asset you will own. Like a house you can sell it, lease it, rent it, use it as a security interest to secure a loan. A registered trade mark is a property asset and you too can do all of those things.
This blog was kindly provided by Marcella Clarke – Marcella is a European Trade Mark Attorney based in Dublin. For the past 15 years, she has specialised in Irish, European Community and International trade mark services and related Intellectual Property matters
You can contact Marcella on www.Marcellaclarke.com