If you’ve already incorporated your company, that’s a good first step. Now you need to apply for a trademark registration to make sure you’re the only one who can use your business name in your industry.
For the broadest protection, you should register your trademark for all the products and services you’re likely to provide. Trademark registrations provide protection for a minimum of ten years and can be renewed indefinitely, provided that you pay renewal fees.
Our post, ‘How much does it cost to register my trademark?’ highlights the risks vs. the benefits of securing this protection.
Because trademarks are registered for specific products and services across different categories, it is possible for businesses in different industries to register the same or similar trademarks.
A classic example is the brand POLO, which is owned by Ralph Lauren for clothing Volkswagen for cars, Nestlé for confectionery and Volkswagen for cars.
How to trademark your business name
Our intelligent technology will help you select the correct categories for your products, when you apply for your trademark online. It’s easy!
1. Protect the distinctive part of your brand
When you apply for a trademark, you should aim to protect the distinctive parts of your brand. These could be your:
- business names
- brand names
2. Exclude non-essential descriptors in your business name
When trademarking your business name, it’s a good idea not to include the words or abbreviations which indicate the type of company, such as LIMITED or LTD in the trademark. These descriptors may limit the scope of your trademark rights.
Similarly, it’s generally not necessary to include the website domain extension (eg: .CO.UK or .COM) as part of your trademark – unless of course the extension is also a distinctive part of your brand, such as JET2.COM or BOOKING.COM.
3. Apply for a trademark in other countries
If it’s likely you’ll use your brand overseas, then you should also register your trademark in each country you’re in or planning to go into. Feel free to get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss your options for international trademark registration.
Protecting your business name with a registered trademark
Once you have a trademark registration, you have the legal right to exclusive use of that trademark. This protection extends across the whole of the UK.
With a trademark registration, you’ll be able to:
- use the registered trademark symbol ® next to your brand – to show that it’s yours and warn others against using it
- license your brand so that only selected trading partners can use it under your specified terms and conditions
- take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission, including counterfeiters.
Our article, ‘Why trademarks are important for brand protection’, demonstrates, with recent examples, how registered trademarks protected two small businesses against corporates who put out copycat products.
As soon as you have a distinctive brand, business name, logo or slogan for your business, you can apply for your UK trademark quickly and easily using Trademark Planet’s simple 3-step process.