After 25 years in the field of protecting and enforcing Trade Marks, Copyright and Designs worldwide, I still find it surprising that many companies are unaware of the importance and value of registering their Trade Marks.
In some instances, company owners believe that they are afforded sufficient protection just by having a Limited Company registered. This is not correct. Trade Mark registration provides the best form of protection for names/brands.
It is imperative that companies should avoid the pitfalls of creating and developing a brand (often at quite considerable cost), to then find that they are forced to cease use of it by another third party’s rights. That is why clearance checks should be carried out beforehand.
It is also vital, when considering exporting overseas, that the necessary clearance checks are carried out. Registration should also be sort, not only to provide you with the maximum protection, but to provide any necessary contractual warranties to any distributor and in certain instances, to make sure that any potential distributor does not apply to register your Trade Mark before you!
It is strongly advisable therefore that you apply to register you Trade Mark in any territories of interest (you do not actually have to already be using your Trade Mark to do so). Seeking expert advice is highly recommended to make sure that you are registering correctly in order to obtain the maximum protection available.
Protecting your Trade Mark protects your company. It is potentially your most valuable asset – a tool to recognition. A registered Trade Mark grants its owner exclusive nationwide ownership of a Mark and provides official notice to others that a name is already taken and any use of an identical or similar name is likely to constitute infringement, which is actionable.
For example, the average cost of registering a Trade Mark (with expert advice) in the UK can be in the region of £100s. To defend unauthorised use of an unregistered Mark, not only would you need to prove that you have established goodwill, but in some instances, it can cost tens of £1000s. If you are registered, it can cost a nominal amount to send a cease and desist letter to any offending party and you may also be able to claim damages.
By registering a Trade Mark, its owner obtains the right to use the ® after the Mark which alerts other parties to the fact that the Mark is already taken. Also, by registering the Trade Mark, it will appear in the Trade Mark Searching records, thus acting as a warning and/or deterrent to other third parties from adopting a similar or identical Trade Mark.
As an experienced Trade Mark Attorney, I have always believed that it is far easier and cheaper to register your Trade Mark, as this not only provides you with the comfort of knowing that you have exclusive rights in it, but that you should also be able to enforce it in the most cost effective way.