A Trade Mark (TM) is a sign that can distinguish goods and services from those of competitors. It can consist of words, logos or a combination of both and are often used as a marketing tool to recognise products or services.
They provide the exclusive right to use a mark for goods and/or services in a particular product category / industry. It allows the registered Trade Mark symbol to be used to warn others against using it.
The vast majority of goods and services are covered by 'ordinary' trademarks. These marks function to indicate the trade origin - they link the owner of the mark to the goods or services, and the goods or services to the owner.
However, there are certain marks that do not have the same function as an ordinary trade mark.
A certification mark is a specific type of mark. They provide a guarantee that the goods or services bearing the mark meet a certain defined standard or possess a particular characteristic.
The owner of the mark will define those standards or characteristics.
Such marks are usually registered in the name of trade associations, government departments, technical institutes or similar bodies.
A collective mark is a specific type of trademark which indicates that the goods or services bearing the mark originate from members of a trade association, rather than just one trader.
It helps to protect an identity and protects against others using the same or similar mark.
It protects against others using the same or similar marks on counterfeit goods and services.
It provides “concrete proof” of the legally protected rights.
It makes it easier to take legal action against anyone who uses the mark without permission.
It removes the need to rely on “common law” rights (passing off).
It is an asset and therefore has a value – which means it may be licensed, franchised or sold.
Distinctive for the goods and services you provide. In other words they can be recognised as signs that differentiates your goods or service as different from someone else's.
Describe goods or services or any characteristics of them.
Have become customary in your line of trade and or not distinctive.
Are three dimensional shapes or are specially protected emblems.
Are offensive or against the law, for example, promoting illegal drugs or are deceptive.
Lead the public to think that your goods and services have a quality which they do not.
Importantly they provide investors and potential licensees with confidence to collaborate with the patent owner, knowing their investment will be underpinned by a legal right.
Trademarks can be active indefinitely. However once a Trade mark has been registered it must be renewed every 10 years to remain in force.
Provide an honest appraisal and examine your mark for Trademark suitability.
Advise on Trademark registration process and how it works.
Undertake a search prior to proceeding with the registration process.
Make suggestions that will improve the commerciality of your mark.
Compile and file your Trademark application and pursue it through to approval.
Deal with any IPO objections and maintain and file renewals.
Advise on the best protection strategy for the mark.
Assist with the transfer of your rights to a third party.