How long does it take to register your business trademark? That’s an important question since it gives you some rights over the mark and allows you to legally stop others from using it. If you want to know how long it takes to register your business trademark, keep reading this article.
What are trademarks?
Starting a business comes with many legal responsibilities, but one of the most important has to do with registering your trademark. If you use it in the course of business without going through the proper process of registration, you could be infringing on someone else’s trademark. Another scenario can be that it’s your business trademark that gets used by another company. Both can get you facing legal trouble.
But, what exactly is a trademark? It’s is a sign that distinguishes your goods or services from those of other traders or businesses. It can be a name, slogan, logo, image, or sound. You’ll know that your trademark is registered when you see the ® symbol.
Before applying for registration, ensure that your trademark isn’t:
- making use of official emblems
- using too generic slogans
- using common shapes solely, such as circles, for registration
- using flags of any country without authority
- directly using terms that describe it
How long does it take to register your business trademark?
Registering your business trademark is an important step in protecting your brand. But, how long does the process take?
After you’ve learned how to do a trademark search and filed an application to get your trademark registered, you’ll discover that the duration for your trademark registration depends on whether there’s an objection or none. A straightforward application, one that has no objections, would usually take an average of four months. Otherwise, trademark registration can last from six to nine months.
Timeline for trademark registration
To understand why trademark registration takes months to process, it’s suggested to look at the timeline of how it’s done.
1. Preparing of application
First, determine which classes of goods or services for which you intend to register your trademark.
The Intellectual Property Office utilizes the Nice Classification, which categorizes goods and services into 45 classes. It’s also recommended to check if others have already registered your trademark.
Once done, it’s now time to prepare your application. This should include the details of what you wish to register, such as illustrations or slogans. You should also include the terms and classes for registration.
2. Pay the application fee
Depending on the type of application you’d like to use, at least UK£170 is required to register a trademark. However, the cost may depend on the number of classes you’d like to have your product listed. Each additional class is worth UK£50.
You may send your application to the IPO by post or online.
3. Once your application is with the IPO
The IPO may contact you within two weeks after receiving and examining your application. During this period, they’re expected to search for similar trademarks to yours, and contact their owners or holders. When no objection has been given, they shall publish it in the Trade Marks Journal (TMJ). The TMJ is published weekly on a Friday and lists applications for UK trademarks. It has information about new trademarks being registered and amendments to existing ones.
In case there’s no opposition to your application, IPO will grant your trademark within three to four months. If someone else has already applied for a similar trademark, they might object to yours. This extends the timeline for your trademark registration. In this case, you can choose between withdrawing your application for trademark registration or defending it legally.
4. Your trademark application has been accepted
If your trademark application is accepted, you’ll need to pay a fee and renew your registration every ten years.
The importance of trademarks
Once you’ve successfully registered your trademark, the IPO will send you a certificate confirming your registration. From there, you can reap the benefits of having it registered. Some of these are:
- It helps to secure your rights against counterfeits. A counterfeit is a copy of something that’s made to look exactly like the original, usually with the intention of fooling people into thinking it’s genuine. Counterfeits are often made of inferior materials and aren’t subject to the same quality control as the original ones, which can lead to problems for people who buy them. For example, a counterfeit phone charger might not work as well as the real thing. Sometimes, it could even be dangerous.
Counterfeiting is a serious problem because it hurts businesses and consumers alike. Sadly, it’s rampant in this day and age, which is why trademark registration has become so important. Thus, if you don’t register your business’s trademark, you’re likely not going to get compensated if someone infringes on it. You may even find yourself in a lawsuit over it.
- The purpose of a trademark is to let consumers know who made the product. It helps protect brand identity for companies and serves as a warning to others that it can’t be used without proper authorization and permission.
- With a trademark, you can legally sell goods bearing your mark anywhere in the country. Trademark registration may be costly, but it’s well worth it if you want to save money on any lawsuits down the line. Also, many countries require registrations with the World Intellectual Property Office before applying for international trademark protection. Thus, registering will make sure you’re protected worldwide, too.
Do you need help with your company registration?
If you’re not sure whether you need help with registration, you can always consult a trademark attorney. They can help you determine whether you need to file a trademark application, and can also help with the process. In addition, they can help you choose the right class for your trademark and can represent you in case of any disputes.
The process of trademark registration in the UK is relatively simple and straightforward. The entire process can be completed online or by post. Also, it can usually take four to six months to receive your registered trademark.
However, it’s important to note that registering a trademark is only the first step in protecting your brand. You’ll also need to actively enforce your trademark rights to keep you and your brand safe from legal woes.