I have never registered a trade mark for my business – what are the 10 benefits of trade mark registration and how much does it cost?
You are not alone – intellectual property (IP) considerations might not be a priority in a new business venture but over time, as your business expands and you seek investment, it will become increasingly vital to secure your IP rights and register your trade marks.
A 2019 study by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) identified that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that apply for trade marks, designs and patents have a greater probability of experiencing high growth than SMEs that do not.
So what are the benefits of trade mark registration?
- Protect your branding
Your company’s brand sets its image and conveys its core message. It determines how the public sees and thinks about your company. It is what distinguishes your business from competitors and communicates your vision, unique characteristics and the quality of your goods and services.
- Building trust in your brand
Goodwill can be defined as the invisible, attractive force that brings customers to your business and keeps them coming back. The goodwill and reputation in your brand grows over time and the best way to enforce these intangible rights is to register a trade mark.
A trade mark can be viewed as a badge of origin, denoting the quality of your goods and services. Put most simply, a trade mark enables customers to know what they are buying and be assured that the goods and/or services are of a certain quality that they have come to expect.
A strong, well protected brand may be recognised in valuation terms and goodwill.
- Monopoly rights
A trade mark owner can apply the trade mark to all the goods and services covered by the trade mark registration for its trading activities. The owner can enjoy the sole ownership of the trade mark and can stop others from the unauthorised use of the trade mark under the same classes of goods and services in the UK.
- A powerful marketing tool
Registering your business name as a trade mark is vital because it gives you control of domain names and prevents competitors from being able to use the name on their website.
- An investment in your IP portfolio
Registering a trade mark creates an intangible asset – an asset that is not physical in nature but is owned and legally protected. This can optimise value from your trading activities and add real value to your balance sheet.
Investing in trade marks is attractive to investors as it demonstrates that you take your IP rights seriously. Investors will expect that their investment will be suitably protected. Registered trade marks can therefore help your business to secure finance on more favourable terms.
- Commercially exploitable
A registered trade mark creates a legal right which can be sold, assigned, franchised or commercially contracted. A trade mark owner can commercialise the trade mark and raise income by licensing the IP to a third party thereby expanding its trading activities. Registration is a prerequisite to convenient dealings with third parties.
- Increase market penetration
Trade mark owners can license their trade mark to another business to trade in territories where they do not operate, expanding the outreach of the business. For innovative businesses, licensing the trade mark can create a new revenue stream without the company having to divert from its own chosen focus.
- Deterring infringement
Trade marks can have a real deterrent effect against third parties attempting to trade on your reputation. Enforcing a trade mark may be as straightforward as showing that the infringer has used the trade mark, without having to prove any loss, and action can be taken before the infringer has even begun trading. Usually a letter enclosing the trade mark registration and threatening legal action is enough without ever restoring to court proceedings.
Once a trade mark is registered, an owner can use the ® symbol next to the trade mark (or ™ meaning trade mark applied for). This is a visible warning to infringers that the trade mark owner takes their IP rights seriously and is likely to defend them.
- Action against counterfeiters
Owning a registered trade mark allows Trading Standards Officers or the Police to bring criminal charges against counterfeiters if they use your trade mark.
- 10-year protection for a low cost
Trade marks, once registered, gain legal protection from the date of filing. There is a standard IPO fee of £170 (no VAT payable) for each trade mark application to cover one class of goods/services and an additional £50 for each class.
As long as it is still being used and is renewed every 10 years, a trade mark registration will remain valid and protect your business indefinitely.
How can Tozers help your business?
Thoughtful registration of IP lies at the heart of many a business success.
It is essential to get the application right and we can provide specialist advice about how to maximise the protection available to you. If you would like help or support with trade marks then visit our dedicated Intellectual Property pages or contact our expert team.