Your logo is one of the key elements of your branding. Through its stylization and design, it embodies your business and helps your products and services standout to your customer base. Something this valuable to your company necessitates protection, and one of the best ways to safeguard your logo is obtaining a trademark registration for it. For those doing business across the pond, filing a trademark application for your logo in the United Kingdom is just as imperative as doing so at home. In order to trademark your logo in the U.K., there are three fundamental steps to follow: first, decide which method to use, then hire an attorney to perform a search and assist with your filing, and finally, maintain your logo registration abroad to ensure the entirety of its protection.
1) Determine How You Want to File
There are several methods you can use to file a trademark application for your logo in the United Kingdom. First, you could file directly with the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office; this would require the help of a U.K.-barred attorney, but is one of the quickest available paths to registration. If time is of the essence, this may be your preferred option.
Alternatively, if you are based outside the UK, you can also file an application through the Madrid Protocol. The Madrid Protocol is a an international system that allows you to file a trademark application simultaneously in any of its member states. Because there are over ninety countries that have agreed to the Madrid Protocol, this is an excellent option for a business looking to trademark their logo in multiple countries at once. At this time, these are the only two viable options to file a logo application in the United Kingdom. Due to the U.K. exiting the European Union, the EUTM route is no longer a plausible route for those seeking a registration.
2) Consult with a Trademark AttorneyIf you need assistance determining which of the two options above are correct for you and your business, it may be in your best interest to enlist the assistance of a trademark attorney. Many IP lawyers have connections abroad that will streamline your filing process and can eliminate your search for a U.K. barrister to help with your logo application. On the other hand, should you choose to file through the Madrid Protocol, many experienced attorneys already have a thorough knowledge of this process and will be able to help you navigate through the application requirements to ensure that your logo has the best possible chance of registration.
Additionally, an attorney can help you with a crucial part of the application process: performing a trademark search to find any similar or conflicting logos that may already exist on the UKIPO’s register and that could cause confusion with yours. While this is an often-overlooked step when filing for a logo, it is imperative that you discuss your individual case with your attorney and decide whether or not a search is needed for your company’s logo. This decision may be based upon the overall distinction of the design, as well as the uniqueness of the elements incorporated into the logo. Should a search be needed, your attorney can perform the search or arrange for it to be done through a U.K. attorney.
When the search has been returned, they can analyze the results and present any risks or recommendations prior to proceeding with the logo filing. In the United Kingdom, marks that are similar to one another can still achieve a registration—however, the owner of the other mark is able to oppose your application. Once you have evaluated all of the possibilities and decided to proceed with filing for your logo, your trademark application will be drafted and filed. Should there be any additional requirements or perhaps a refusal, your attorney can guide you through the necessary responses to get your logo registered.
3) Maintain Your Registration
In order to preserve the integrity of your logo registration in the U.K., you must consistently and clearly use your trademark in commerce. Once your logo has been registered, you can use the ® symbol alongside it to indicate your trademark rights and preserve control of your branding. Policing the marketplace is an essential part of U.K. trademark ownership as the UKIPO does not monitor the exclusivity of trademark usage; rather, it is up to the owner to prevent infringement matters from occurring by filing oppositions against new applications for logos that conflict with yours.
Furthermore, while trademarks in the United Kingdom do not expire, U.K. trademark owners are responsible for renewing their registrations every ten years. These maintenance filings ensure that the logo is still being used effectively and appropriately. Many IP attorneys offer monitoring services and renewal reminders that can help manage these tasks for you.
Filing a Trademark for Your Logo in the U.K.
Overall, filing a logo application in the United Kingdom is a wise decision for companies finding their business expanding into England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. Your logo is an indispensable branding instrument and carries the integrity and reputation of your brand, allowing your consumers to instantly recognize your services and products by association, regardless of their location. Should you have any questions about filing a trademark application for your logo in the United Kingdom, please contact one of the attorneys at Gerben Intellectual Proprety today for a free consultation.