A trade mark is a way of identifying a unique product or service.

It is a sign used or intended to be used to distinguish your goods or services from those of your competitors.

A trade mark is often referred to as a brand and, while it may be your corporate logo, it can also be one or a combination of the following: words, phrases, logos, aspect of packaging or even colours, sounds and scents, to just name a few.

A registered trade mark provides you with exclusive rights to use, license and sell the mark. It’s also a valuable marketing tool because the value of your trade mark increases with the success of your business.

Note that you will not obtain this exclusive right if you use your mark as a business name, domain name, or company name without registering it as a trade mark.

The importance of using your trade mark

Once you register a trade mark, you have a very important obligation to actively use it in the course of trade.  If you don’t, it can be removed on the grounds of non-use.  This is to discourage traders from registering multiple trade marks simply to stop others from using them.

It is important to be aware of this obligation as a trade mark owner, however, this requirement can also be a useful mechanism if a competitor holds a mark they are not actively using.

The earliest a non-use application can be made is five years after the filing date of the registered trade mark, and you must be able to demonstrate that the trade mark has not been used in the past three years.

For information or advice about intellectual property strategy or registering a trade mark, please get in touch.

Stacey Brennan