I’m thinking of registering my brand as a trade mark. I’ve been on to the IPO website and it looks a fairly straightforward process to register. I’ve done a search and there is no match. I’m just wondering if you might have some additional information as to the pros and cons?

Registering a trade mark is a strategic business decision and should be considered carefully before proceeding. You can register your trade mark to protect your brand, eg the name of your product or service. When you register you will be able to:

  • take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission

  • put the ® symbol next to your brand – to show that it’s yours and warn others against using it (you can use (TM) on an unregistered trade mark)

  • sell and license your brand

You may be able to stop someone using a similar trade mark to yours on their goods and services (known as ‘passing off’), even if you have not registered it. It is harder to prove passing off than it is to defend a registered trade mark and you will need to show that:

  • the mark is yours

  • you’ve built up a reputation in the mark

  • you’ve been harmed in some way by the other person’s use of the mark

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