Welcome to our Resources page. We have set out some basic information on
Trade marks, Designs and Copyright in our downloadable guides below (these are orientated to UK/EU). We have also included some links to other websites containing guidance and extra information, which you might find helpful. If you have any queries in relation to our guides or would like any further information, please let us know.
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Trade marks are valuable business assets and are primarily a badge of origin, symbolising your business and what it represents. They are also key advertising and marketing tools. Trade marks communicate various messages to consumers in relation to origin, quality, trust, reliability and the benefits of your goods or services. They help to protect brand identity and can help your business to grow, opening the door to potential commercial opportunities and revenue streams, for example, through trade mark licensing and franchising agreements.
In today's global and increasingly competitive marketplace, it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of consumers. Trade marks are essentially "signs" which help consumers to identify and differentiate your products or services from those of competitors and other traders.
Trade marks can be words, logos, symbols, taglines, slogans and even possibly colours, shapes, sounds, smells and motion.
The more distinctive and memorable your trade mark is, the easier it will be for consumers to differentiate your products or services from those of others (and also generally the easier it will be to register).
Why register your trade marks
Registration enables you to prevent the unauthorised use of your trade mark (i.e. preventing trade mark infringement)
Helps you to control and protect your brand identity, business reputation and the value of your trade marks
Allows you to obtain remedies for acts of trade mark infringement e.g. recovering lost profits and costs
Can help act as a deterrent to competitors and other traders from using the same or a similar trade mark
Provides you with opportunities to maximise the commercial potential of your trade marks e.g. through licensing, franchising and sale agreements
Useful for Customs Recordal applications to help prevent the import and/or export of counterfeit goods
Once registered you can mark your products and service materials with the symbol, putting other parties on notice of your rights
Designs can have a significant impact on the success of a product, and like trade marks are a valuable business asset. The appearance of a product can be crucial in relation to customer purchasing decisions and customer loyalty, and the value of designs in relation to commercial growth and market opportunities should not be underestimated.
A design (in terms of Intellectual Property) is defined as the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from features such as the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or material of the product itself and/or its ornamentation.
There are two main types of design protection - registered and unregistered – which are explained in our downloadable guide below.
Why register your designs
Exclusive right to use your design for commercial production, sales and marketing in the countries where registered (length of registration and renewal intervals can vary between countries)
Allows you to prevent others from reproducing your design and also similar designs (subject to tests relating to overall impression and the informed user)
There is no need to prove copying for registered design infringement to have occurred (proving unregistered design infringement is more arduous, as deliberate copying must be shown)
The registration process for the UK and EU is fast and relatively low cost
Provides commercial opportunities for your business - a design registration can be sold or licensed to others, attract investors and help to bring in business investment
A registration can help to act as a deterrent against the unauthorised use of your design by competitors and others
Once registered you can mark your design products and packaging with the registration number – putting other parties on notice of your rights
An automatic form of protection in the UK, which protects and promotes creativity. If you create an original literary, artistic, dramatic or musical works, recorded visibly or audibly then your works may be protected/qualify for protection under copyright law.
The purpose of copyright is to protect the expression or embodiment of a work which has been created using some form of labour, skill or judgement. It does not protect the general idea or concept underlying a work.
The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) - the official government body responsible for intellectual Property rights in the UK
The European Intellectual Property Office - responsible for managing EU trade marks and registered Community designs
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) - global forum for IP services, policy, information and cooperation. Promotes the protection of IP throughout the world
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) - the federal agency for granting U.S. Trade Marks, Designs and Patents
The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) - the UK professional membership organisation for trade mark attorneys in the UK
IPReg, the regulatory body for trade mark and patent attorneys in the UK