A trade mark is a sign which can distinguish your
goods and services from those of your competitors. It can be for example
words, logos or a combination of both.
You can use your trade mark as a marketing tool so
that customers can recognise your products or services.
A trade mark must be:
- distinctive for the goods and services you provide. In other words it can be
recognised as a sign that differentiates your goods or service as different
from someone else's.
You may be familiar with the trade marks below. They don't describe the
goods or services, which is why they are good examples of registrable trade
The above logos have been reproduced with kind permission of WH Smith Retail
Limited and PZ Cussons (International) Limited.
Trade marks are not registrable if they:
- describe your goods or services or any characteristics of them, for example,
marks which show the quality, quantity, purpose, value or geographical
origin of your goods or services;
- have become customary in your line of trade;
- are not distinctive;
- are three dimensional shapes, if the shape is typical of the goods you are
interested in (or part of them), has a function or adds value to the goods;
- are specially protected emblems;
- are offensive;
- are against the law, for example, promoting illegal drugs; or;
- are deceptive. There should be nothing in the mark which would lead the
public to think that your goods and services have a quality which they do not.
A registered trade mark must be renewed every 10 years to keep it in force.
Standard trade marks make up the vast majority of marks accepted but there
are other marks which indicate particular standards for goods, or that the
owner of the mark is a member of an organisation. You may want to find out
more about these other marks before deciding whether you want to register