What is a Trade Mark?
A trade mark is any sign which can distinguish the goods and services of one trader from those of another. Trade Marks can be an individual word or combination of words, logos, pictures, or any combination of these. A trade mark is used so that the product or service that a particular trader provides can be recognised by customers and cannot be imitated by others.
To register a trade mark the mark must be;
- Distinctive for the goods or services for which you are applying to register it.
- Not be deceptive, or contrary to law or morality.
- Not be similar or identical to any earlier marks for the same or similar goods or services.
There are 45 trade mark classes that cover all goods and services. Class 25, for example, covers clothing, footwear and headgear. If you were to trade mark a brand name under class 25 this would prevent any other trader from producing any item of clothing, footwear or headgear, that appears in class 25, brandishing your name or logo. However if another trader decided to deal in class 15 (musical instruments) you would generally find that there would be nothing to stop them trading the instruments under the same name. You can trade mark goods or services in as many classes as required so long as there is a genuine usage for registering in that class. In the case referred to above, it would therefore be pointless to register in class 15 (musical instruments) unless you proposed to manufacture or deal in musical instruments - if you register in a class "just in case" and a genuine musical instrument manufacturer applied to register in that class, your registration would be challengeable because you were not using it.