Trade marking your name in business is an important step in preserving the brand identity you have worked so hard to build. By not registering your company name as a trademark, you leave open the possibility of other firms trading on the goodwill you have established among your client base. We will first examine in more detail what it means to register a trademark, before looking at the process involved in actually obtaining one.
What are Trademarks?
In terms of what can qualify as a trademark, the combinations are virtually endless. You can apply to register any word, phrase, number, symbol, picture or other image, effectively blocking another firm from using a similar mark in the course of business. Having that trademark in place indicates a living connection between the firm’s personality and their product offering. It provides you with the exclusive right to promote your company by using that particular name or mark.
How Do I Get One?
The process involved in registering a particular trademark name will usually begin with a company search. Scouring the trademark register will alert you to two things; whether your mark is in fact able to be registered in the first place, and whether any other company already has a substantially similar mark registered. Provided nothing alarming comes to light as a result of this search, you can now go about having your trademark registered.
The Registration Process
Once you have filled out an application, it should be filed with the Intellectual Property Office. You can do this directly, or some businesses opt to engage the services of specialist intellectual property firms who will carry out much of the registration process on your behalf. Once your application has been received, it will be examined in light of other trademark names currently on the register. This is essentially a formalised version of the trademark search you carried out earlier, so if you passed that then there should be no issue here, and it will be accepted.
Finalising Your Registration, and Ongoing Protection
If the Intellectual Property Office has no issue with your trademark name, it will be advertised in the patent office journal, where third parties will have the chance to raise any objections they might have. Provided there are no genuine claims that would hinder registration, your trademark will become official thereafter. You can then expect a trademark certificate to be issued six months after the application was initiated. Once registered, your trademark name will be protected from infringement for a period of ten years. So long as you then pay your renewal fees, this protection can be infinite.