We have recently assisted one of our clients with registering a trademark for their company. We acted as the representative for our client in achieving trademark registration and we now offer this service to existing and new clients as part of our integrated marketing offering.
For the client in question, a trademark was an important requirement as they are creating (with our assistance) a business model that is franchisable – and that means that it is incredibly important to protect their brand within the sector they operate within, because the brand and name is what is going to add value to the business in the years to come – it is all part of the exit strategy. So how do you go about doing it? Well, it is not that difficult once you know how.
The main port of call is the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) at www.ipo.gov.uk, where you will find a great deal of helpful information – not just about trademarks, but also about all forms of Intellectual Property, which fit into four categories – patents, designs, copyright and trademarks There are a variety of other ways in which you can protect your idea and these options are all outlined on their website.
The cost is a mere £170 to apply to register your trade mark for the first class in which you wish to protect it and another £50 for each subsequent class – if you don’t apply for all classes at the same time, you can add them at a later date but this will cost you £170 rather than £50 and will mean a further delay. Classes are the IPO’s way of describing industry sectors, and they are split into two types – goods (classes 1-34) and services (classes 35-45). For instance, if we wished to register Abacus Marketing as a trademark (and we might) then we would need to apply for a registration under Class 35 which covers branding, marketing, advertising and Class 42 which covers graphic design and branding (oddly, branding appears twice – once for consultancy and once for design). In your application, you would need to write specifically what services you offer – this is hugely important to get right in terms of determining the outcome of your application, so it is best to be as clear and specific as possible. You can register your name and your image (aka branding or logo) – so in this instance, we would need to pay a total of £440.
It makes sense, especially if you are unsure of how likely you think you are going to be to be approved for a trade mark to take advantage of their Right Start option. You pay £30 more, £200, for the first class (and £50 for subsequent ones) but in two instalments of £100 – the first instalment covers the cost of an examination report which will indicate whether it is worth proceeding or not. I would definitely recommend this route. The cost would be £500 in our example but with an exposure of only £250. Remember, this is to register both a name and a brand for two classes. Personally, I would advise that you go for the name trade mark and the relevant classes first of all and then wait for the information from the examination report before making a decision on the image/branding. How long does it take? If all goes well, the examination report will take one month to complete and the total period of approval takes up to four months. By the way, you can add a “TM” to your name/image when you apply for a trade mark and then, if it is successful, this changes to an R with a circle around it.
You can also check on their website before you apply to see whether the name or the brand you wish to register is already taken by another company. It’s not just the UK you need to worry about. It’s the whole world, and they have links to harmonised trade mark offices around the globe. I would suggest it might not be a bad idea to call them up for a chat if you are interested in finding out more on 0300 300 2000 – they are an extremely friendly bunch of professionals.