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The Trade Mark Registration Process In The EU – Infographic (Updated)

Flow chart of the EU trademark
From the 23rd of March, there have been changes to the EU trade mark registration process. This post has been updated to reflect those changes.

The European Union (EU) provides business owners an opportunity to register a trade mark in all the member states of the EU through a EU Trade Mark. The process has some similarities to the UK trade mark registration process. The registration process takes between 5 to 8 months and gives the trade mark owner legal rights to take action against others who use the brand name without permission.

If you trade in the EU, or looking to expand into the EU then you should register a EU trade mark. The infographic below shows the trade mark registration process in the EU.

The EU trademark process displayed in a flow chart.

The Patent Registration Process In The UK – Infographic

A flow chart of the patent registration process in the UK

A patent is used to protect an invention. It gives the owner complete ownership of an invention and the right to take legal action anyone who uses, sells or copies the inventions without permission. The ownership usually lasts for 20 years.

A patent application can take a long time (3 to 4 years) to get registered. There are also conditions which need to be met for a patent to get registered. These conditions are listed as follows:

– the invention should have some new characteristic, which should be verified by industry experts
– the invention should introduce an “inventive step” or a “non-obvious” function, which haven’t been introduced by industry experts before
– the invention must be capable of being used for an industrial or business purpose
– some things are not patentable in the UK for e.g. scientific theories, mathematical methods, discoveries of natural substances, computer programs etc.
– the invention should be described in a clear and complete manner in the application; another technical expert should be able to recreate it using the description

The infographic below shows the process of registering a patent in the UK.

A flow chart of the patent registration process in the UK


Interactive Guide To Trade Marks We Use Without Realising

Images of trademarks we use without realising

Trade marks were invented for commercial purposes. They help protect a brand so that no one else can financially benefit from them. Some brands have become so successful that they are used by people without realising that they are trade marks.

There is an upside and a downside to having a very popular brand name. If a brand is very famous and it becomes a household name, then its a testament to the successful marketing of the company. However, this can be a negative thing for a trade mark attorney. Click on the link below to continue reading and see the interactive guide to trade marks we use without realising.

Click here to view the trade marks we use without realising

Why Your Startup Needs a Trade Mark?

A start-up lifting off by getting a trademark.

It’s hardly easy being a startup. There’s lots of competition and resources can be limited. But shouldn’t you be looking ahead and registering your trade mark? When you’re a startup, much of your time can be spent fine-tuning your product and perfecting your pricing. With so many things to juggle, it can be hard to turn your attention to your branding. But we all know that a well-known, well-loved brand is one of the most powerful business tools you can have.

Protecting your valuable assets

Just because you’re a new startup, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have valuable assets that need protecting. As soon as you are planning to invest in your branding and marketing, then your trade mark should be a priority. If you don’t protect your brand name (or it transpires that you have infringed someone else’s) then you may have to change your company name or trade mark further on down the line, which can be very damaging for business.

Everything you do as a startup is investing in your company’s name and goodwill. Registering a trade mark shows that you really believe you have something valuable and a reputation worth protecting. Registering a trade mark can also help you attract new investment. Potential investors will check if the company has a trade mark before they commit to you; having a trade mark shows you are serious and ambitious about the reach of your product or service.

Saving your startup from ‘trade mark trolls’

Registering a trade mark early in your business life also prevents you falling prey to ‘trade mark trolls‘. Trade mark trolls register a trade mark with no real intention of trading under it, but simply using the trade mark as leverage and a bartering tool to gain money from other companies. It is effectively trade mark squatting. If you fall victim to a trademark troll who is found to be acting in bad faith, you might not be forced change your name, but the legal fees can be very costly indeed. Startups and small-to-medium business are those most often targeted by trade mark trolls, and the cost of legal is fees is much more painful when relative to a small revenue. Prevalence of trade mark trolling is going up, with the cases in the US totalling 1401 in 2005, but jumping to 5842 in 2011, so now is a good time to protect your brand.

Having a unique brand name

Trade mark problems are not always so insidious. Sometimes, you might find that trade mark infringement can be totally incidental. Startups can have lots of competition. Make sure you’ve done your research and you’re not competing for brand name or identity, or you could be infringing on someone else’s trade mark by accident. In a business world with lots of competitors, it’s best to have a marketable brand that is unique to you. By registering a trade mark, you’ll create a distinct brand that is legally protected that ensures no other copycat startups exist. Remember that an unregistered trade mark, owning a URL or only registering a company name won’t give full protection to your brand against copycats.

What should you register as a trade mark?

There’s a number of things you should do as a startup before filing a trade mark registration. First, consider the part of your branding that you’d like to trade mark. Most usually, this will be your brand name, but it could be your logo, tagline or jingle. Once you’ve picked your distinctive element, run some checks to assure that no other companies are using the trade mark you want to sell their goods or services. Even if your mark is accidentally similar to another trade mark, you could run into legal trouble. Once your search has come back clean, you’re ready to file a trade mark registration claim.

Filing a trade mark can take some time, so you should start early in order to be protected effectively. The process of registering a trade mark generally asks for evidence from you about how you’re using the mark, though it’s not always a requirement. In many markets, if you don’t use a trade mark within 3 years you might not be able to retain it. Ideally, you’ll already have a fantastic product and a strong brand that’s ready to go onto the market within 3 years. Starting a new company is an exciting time when all creative cylinders are firing, so why not dream big and register a trade mark?

Whats the difference between copyright, trade marks, patents and registered designs?

Copyright, trade marks, patents and registered designs - whats the difference?

IP is essentially a person’s work that needs to be protected so that no one else can financially benefit or gain recognition for the work. There are four types of intellectual property (IP) which are listed as follows:

  • Copyright – Protection automatically granted to authors for their original, creative or intellectual work
  • Trade mark – A sign that distinguishes a brand from its competitors; the sign could be a word, logo or slogan
  • Patent – Protection for a new invention that hasn’t been introduced in the market yet
  • Registered designs – Protection for the appearance/design of a product

View the infographic below to see the difference between the four types of intellectual property.

Copyright, trade marks, patents and registered designs - whats the difference?