In the UK, a trade mark can be protected without registration. But should you ever need to prove ownership and rely on your unregistered rights, e.g. to stop someone using an identical or similar mark to your own, it will involve proving “use” of your unregistered rights. (Known as “passing off” in the UK.) This is not always easy to do and can be costly as there are three elements that need to be proved:
- Goodwill in your mark
- A misrepresentation
- Damage as a result of the misrepresentation.
By not registering your trade mark, third parties may also be more tempted to use it. They could also be tempted to even register it for themselves. This could then cause you significant difficulties later on if you want to expand your business.
Registered Trade Marks and Competition:
By registering your trade mark, you are protecting your brand. You are giving your business the option to prevent others from using identical and similar marks that may conflict with your own, or potentially even damage the reputation of your brand. Registration means you are better placed to defend your mark as it provides you with a well-defined legal right to stop others if there is ever a conflict.
If you want to attract investment, demonstrating that you took steps to properly protect your brand will be attractive to potential investors. They will want reassurance about your business and their investment.
A registered trade mark is an intangible asset that can be added to your business asset sheet. Registering your trade marks means they become classed as pieces of property and they can even be licensed or sold. If you decide to sell your business, buyers will want to know what they are getting. The value of your brand and intellectual property is an important part of this.
If you trade overseas, you should also consider registering your brand in Europe or internationally. This will ensure that you are also protected abroad.
These are just some of the reasons why it is important that you take advice about your intellectual property and see it as an integral part of your business strategy.
If you would like to know more or have some advice, do not hesitate to contact us.