Securing official trade mark registration for your logo is a smart move for any business in the UK. This is because it can help prevent third parties using a similar logo to take advantage of your brand loyalty and recognition, even when they have a different business name. It also boosts consumer trust and enables use of the ® symbol.
As such, logo registration complements registration of the business or brand name itself to provide more complete trade mark protection. You can read more about the benefits of registering a trade mark in our dedicated article here.
This guide takes you through the logo registration process step-by-step, ensuring you are aware of the main stages of logo registration.
If your business/brand doesn’t have an established visual identity, invest time designing a unique, memorable logo.
Common or basic logos may face more difficulty in the registration process and may also be harder and more expensive to enforce.
Before applying or even using your logo, it is important to understand if your logo is available for use and registration. We have covered this in more detail here, but to summarise, you should at least:
We strongly recommend that we conduct searching on your behalf as it can be hard to define a logo in terms of words. We can also use professional searching tools to search more completely for “similar” trade marks that could cause problems.
To conduct a search on your behalf, we just need an image of the logo and an explanation of how it is used in trade, or how you intend to use it.
The advice we provide with searching results will explain if your logo is available in relation to your use/intended use.
If it is not available, you should go back to step 1 and re-design your logo so that it is more unique and less similar to the search results identified. It is then advisable to top-up the search to cover the re-designed logo and ensure that it is available.
If following searches you are happy to proceed with filing, let us know and provide the following information ready for the application if you haven’t already:
We will then prepare a draft trade mark specification that ensures the trade mark application is able to provide strong value for your business both now and in future, while also aligning with UK trade mark law.
Once you have approved the specification, we will file it on your behalf at the IPO.
The IPO will examine your application to ensure that it complies with UK trade mark law. This process usually happens 1-3 months after filing the application.
We will let you know if any examination report is issued and will recommend the best way to respond, as well as keep you reminded of any important deadlines.
Once examination is completed, the trade mark application is published in the IPO journal for opposition. Third parties can contest your registration during a two month period starting from the date of publication on grounds like potential confusion between their registered mark and your application.
If a third party does raise an issue with your application, or file an opposition, we will explain your options and provide a recommendation about how we can proceed to achieve the best outcome. Further details about oppositions are also provided here.
Barring opposition, your trademark will be granted soon after the expiry of the opposition period. We will let you know as soon as the application is granted.
You can now use the ® symbol and have full legal rights to prevent others from using the logo in relation to the registered goods/services.
Assuming no objections/oppositions, the trade mark registration process from application to registration therefore usually takes 5-6 months.
Trade mark registrations last 10 years and are renewable indefinitely as long as you use the mark in trade for the goods/services it is registered for. We will remind you in advance of the renewal date and handle the renewal of the registration for you.
If you notice that a third party has started using, or is attempting to register, a similar logo for similar goods/services as those protected under your logo registration, you may be able to take action against them.
Please let us know if this is the case and we can ensure the situation is dealt with in a strategic way to avoid unnecessary expense and stand the best chance of reaching a favourable outcome.
It is important to note that a UK trade mark registration only covers the UK. If you plan to use the logo in other countries, protection may be required in each of them. We can advise if this is relevant to your business, as well as develop and execute a cost-effective international logo protection strategy on your behalf if required.
We hope this guide has demystified the trade mark registration process for your brand’s logo and provides a handy reference as you navigate the registration process.
If you feel you are ready to proceed with logo registration or have any questions, please get in touch!