The process of registering a trade mark can be very complex, and careful due diligence must be undertaken to decide what exactly is being trade marked and in which jurisdictions. It is possible to make a UK only trade mark application or a European Union wide application. The process for applying in other jurisdictions is based on local rules and would need to be considered on a case by case basis.
We consider the steps mentioned below to be taken in making an application solely in the UK. An application can be made online with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), the official UK government body responsible for Intellectual Property (IP) rights including patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
In order to apply you need:
- details of what you want to register, for example a word, illustration or slogan
- the trade mark classes you want to register in
There is a special service available, known as 'Right Start' service that will check your application meets the rules for registration. If you use this service, you pay £100 initially plus another £100 if you complete the application, plus £50 for each additional class applied for. You will then get a report telling you if your application meets the rules. To proceed, you must then pay the full fee within 14 days of getting your report. You can choose to continue your application even if it does not meet the rules for registration. There is also a standard online and paper application process available at slightly different fee rates.
The trade mark registration process takes about four months and includes approximately 20 working days for the IPO to consider whether your trade mark is suitable for registration, as well as the publication of the proposed trade mark in the IPO’s Trade Mark Journal – so that third parties have an opportunity to oppose your application. If there is no opposition, the trade mark will be registered.