Introduction to Trade Mark protection

Introduction to Trade Mark protection

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The UK Trade Marks Act 1994 defines a Trade Mark as: “Any sign capable of being represented graphically which is capable of distinguishing goods and services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.”

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The Act goes on to say that the Trade Mark may be: “A word or words including personal names, designs, letters, numerals or the shape of goods or their packaging.” In addition to generally recognised Trade Marks, such as words and logos, Trade Marks can include shapes of containers, colours and combinations of colours, slogans, sounds and even smells.

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Advantages of Trade Mark registration

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  • Registration confers statutory protection
  • Ownership is entered on the Register of Trade Marks and interested third parties can therefore establish who owns a mark by conducting a search of the Register
  • Infringement proceedings can be initiated against unauthorised third party use of a Trade Mark based on a Trade Mark registration
  • Registration facilitates the licensing of Trade Marks
  • Registered Trade Marks are regarded as assets of a company and they have a value
  • Registration effectively gives a perpetual monopoly to a mark which can remain in force indefinitely provided renewal fees are paid

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Trade Marks which cannot be registered

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  • Signs which do not comply with the definition of a Trade Mark under the Act
  • Marks which are non-distinctive
  • Marks which are descriptive (e.g. which designate the kind, quality, quantity, purpose, value, geographical origin or time of production of goods or services)
  • Marks which have become customary in a particular trade
  • Marks which are contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality

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If you would like to discuss any aspect of Trade Mark registration or IP Law then contact our qualified Trade Mark Attorneys today.