Trademarks are the way in which you identify your goods and services as coming from you – as opposed to any of your competitors – and are the key part to developing a “brand”.

Trademarks are usually thought of as a word mark, a picture mark (logo) or a combination of words and pictures. But any sign which is capable of graphical representation can be registered as a trademark. Examples include a particular shape, a smell or a colour. Registration of trademarks provides an exclusive right to use the marks for the specific goods or services listed in the registration. To be registrable, trademarks must be distinctive, and cannot be laudatory (for example “YUMMY” for cakes) or descriptive of the goods or services covered. Ouzman IP can provide helpful advice on how to best protect the trademarks for your business as well as on trademark strategy. We can help you conduct trademark clearance searches to be sure that the mark you’re interested in is free for use.

Some rights can arise as a trader’s reputation is built up over time and through very extensive use of a mark. However, these rights are much more difficult to enforce compared to trademark registration.

Registration allows you to take action against anyone using your trademarks for the same or similar goods and services without your permission, as well as providing a basis for licensing your brand to others. A trademark registration can also be licensed or sold in the same way as any other asset. More importantly, registration means that you can be sure the time and money spent building customer loyalty in your trademarks is protected. More information on trademarks can be found here.

If you are launching a new product or service, read our guide on what to consider when selecting new trademarks.