Many business owners are unaware of the importance of registering their trademark, even though in time this could become one of their most valued assets.
This can be because many wrongly assume that once they have registered their name at Companies House, or have secured a domain, they have unrestricted rights to the name in conjunction with all aspects of their business.
A company name identifies a legal entity. By incorporating a company at Companies House, the owner of the company will only be preventing other businesses from registering an identical or very closely similar company name. Incorporation of a company therefore does not prevent other people from selling goods or providing services under an identical or a similar name.
A registered trademark is entirely different from a company name. A trademark is a distinguishable Mark whether it is a word mark, strapline, logo or a combination, which identifies goods or services of a particular source from those of others.
Trademark registration grants the exclusive right to use the trademark in relation to the goods and/or services in respect of which it is registered for an indefinite period of time (provided renewal dates are met and the trademark is put to genuine use). Once registered, it will deter other parties from misrepresenting or copying a brand identity, and will give you the enforceable right to stop infringers who use an identical or confusingly similar trademark in relation to the registered goods or services.
Before a new company is formed or trading commenced, it is important that searches are made of the company, domain, and trademark registers.
If a company registers a company name or a domain name which is identical or similar to a registered trademark and provides similar goods or services, the owner of the registered trademark may be entitled to bring an action for trademark infringement, even if the company has incorporated its name, or secured the domain, before the filing date of the registered trademark.
In many instances companies opt to delay seeking trademark protection until they have been trading for a few years. This can mean that despite having spent significant time and money on branding and marketing, another company may have pre-empted them in securing a registration for the identical or closely similar trademark. The fact that registration will not be available, will diminish the value of their asset, and make it more challenging and costly to defend/enforce their rights.
It is therefore of the upmost importance that a trademark is registered as soon as possible within the lifetime of your brand/ company. If you are starting out, or expanding, think of ‘DoCiT’ as a helpful acronym: Domain, Company, Trademark; they each require separate protection.
If you wish to register your trademark and protect your business identity, talk to the team at Albright IP, who will be able to use their experience to ensure you obtain the broadest trademark rights in a cost effective way.