The Institute of Trademark Attorneys (ITMA)

01 Nov 2001

- A trademark is essentially a way of identifying goods or services; differentiating between the goods and the services of one trader and another. It is something which is unique to a business and is, in effect, a sign or symbol that allows for instant recognition.

- A trademark can be in a variety of forms including a word, a slogan, a logo, a jingle, a colour, a smell, a shape, a sound, letters, a number, a form of packaging or a personal name.

- By registering a trademark, traders can protect themselves, by law, against other traders using the same or a confusingly similar mark.

- Trademarks can be registered at the Trademarks Registry in the UK with the help of a registered trademark attorney, although it can be done without professional help.

- Trademark attorneys are experts in all areas of trademark law. They act on behalf of, and advise, clients in all matters relating to the establishment and protection of trademarks.

- The contribution of trademark practice to the UK balance of trade is in excess of £ 100 million per annum.

- About 40,000 trademark applications are made each year in the UK.

- In addition to ensuring that no one else is using the proposed name in the market place, a search of the trademarks register should always be carried out to confirm that the adoption of the new trademark will not conflict with anyone else’s rights.

- The UK patent office www.patent.gov.uk enables word searches of the UK trademarks register on-line and the community trademark register can also be searched online at www.oami.eu.int. However, neither of these facilities allows searches for what might be seen as confusingly similar marks. A trademark attorney can carry out a more comprehensive search.

- You should file an application to register the name, logo or brand as a trademark for the goods or services of interest and for the geographical area to be covered (either in the UK or in the overseas markets in which the goods or services are, or are going to be, traded).

- A registered trademark gives exclusive right to use that mark. It also makes it considerably easier to prevent others from using the same or similar goods or services to those covered by the registered trademark.

- A registered trademark can be the single most valuable asset of a company provided it is kept in use and protected.



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