How a trademark lawyer can help you

 

If you have a logo, brand or other mark which you would like to protect, you should speak to a trademark lawyer.

A trademark lawyer can investigate whether your mark is suitable to be registered with the Intellectual Property Office. Only certain types of marks can be registered; there are rules about how specifically identifiable it is, and rules forbidding certain things.

What does a trademark lawyer do?

A trademark lawyer will search the trademarks database to see whether a similar or identical mark has already been registered. If a similar or identical mark has been registered, a trademark lawyer will assess whether it is for similar or identical goods or services, and thus whether it is likely that your application may be opposed.

It is important to have an experienced trademark lawyer to do this for you so as to avoid unnecessary costs if your application is rejected or opposed later in time. If no objections are raised and it isn’t opposed, it normally takes approximately six months to have your trademark registered. It may take longer if there are objections or opposition.

If someone else already has registered a similar or identical trademark you may be able to use or buy it in certain circumstances. If you want to use an existing registered trademark:

  • You will need to have the owner’s permission or you will risk legal action being taken against you for infringing their intellectual property rights
  • You may be able to approach the owner to agree upon a licence for its use
  • You may also be able to purchase the trademark rights and transfer or assign ownership

If you buy a trademark it is important to notify the Intellectual Property Office to ensure the rights are transferred to you, and a lawyer will be able to help you with this.

International trademark lawyers

If you propose to sell your product or service outside of the UK it is essential to discuss with trademark solicitors the best way to protect your intellectual property rights. If you apply in a single country, your rights will be limited to that country.

If you wish to market your goods or services overseas you will need to ensure that your intellectual property protection extends to those countries. There are different ways to do this:

  • You can apply directly to the Trademark Office in each country in which you propose to use your trademark. This can become costly and complex if there are multiple countries you deal with
  • You can apply for an international trademark which will protect the trademark in all member countries. All countries which have signed up to 'The Madrid Protocol’ are member countries (currently there are more than 70 member countries); you can find a list of them on the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s website. If you apply in the UK, your international application must be based on a UK trade mark application or registration. You may advise your trademark solicitors to file both applications at the same time or you can apply at a later date
  • Alternatively you can apply for a Community Trade Mark which provides protection throughout European Union member countries. You can apply for a Community Trade Mark through the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market. Community Trade Marks can be complex because the application must be deemed acceptable in all member states in order to be successful; if the application fails in one member state the whole application fails

It is important to obtain the services of experienced trademark solicitors to assess your trademark for suitability and to make the application on your behalf. For more information on registering a new trademark, see our information page on trademark registration.

Do you need a trademark lawyer to help you make an application for a UK or international trademark? Contact Law works with a number of specialist intellectual property firms and lawyers with a vast amount of experience working on trademark cases. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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