Trade Marks

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Trade Marks

Trade marks 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”.

What is a Trade Mark?

Trade marks 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 trade marks provides an exclusive right to use the marks for the specific goods or services listed in the registration.

To be registrable, trade marks 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 trade mark 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 trade mark 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.

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

How to Choose a new Trade Mark?

Have you launched a new business or got a new product? Now you need a new trade mark, a sign to help your satisfied customers come back – hopefully again and again!

So, to be registrable, a trade mark can’t be totally descriptive of the goods or services it covers and can’t simply be saying how good they are. So don’t go for DIGITAL MEDIA for web design, ACE TAXIS for taxi cabs and avoid YUMMY for cookies and cakes.

Be clearly different to trade marks that are already in use by your competitors. Your competitors will have rights in their own trade marks – which they might want to enforce!

The best trade marks are made up words that are easy to pronounce. Ideally the new trade mark will have some connotation of the goods or services without being directly descriptive. An example is KODAK for cameras, which mimicked the sound of a camera shutter closing.

Or pick a word from an unrelated sphere, such as PEACH for electronic media storage.

Logos are increasingly popular and are increasingly important for use in social media, but they remain unpronounceable and your first priority should be for a word trade mark that your customers can say. If you are launching your product across a number of different countries, with different languages then have some cognizance of what the trade mark might mean in other languages and what it might sound like.

It’s possible to include both a logo and a word together in a trade mark registration, but this only provides protection for that combination. ask yourself: Are you always going to use the logo and word trademarks together?

Finally, make sure that you have a trade mark clearance search completed in good time BEFORE you commit to printed packages, sales and advertising. Again, the search should be across all of the countries where you are about to launch.


Contact us for details of costs and for advice on whether your new trademark can be registered or for any other help with your new trademark.