What is trade mark protection?
Trade mark protection is a means of securing a monopoly right in a word, logo, shape, colour or sound that acts as an identifier of origin, allowing consumers to immediately determine the source of the goods or services offered under that particular trade mark or brand.
n order for a trade mark to be granted and act as a source indicator, it must possess some level of distinctiveness and cannot be descriptive. If an application for a trade mark describes the product or service for which protection is sought, it is unlikely to be granted and is most likely a term that should be free to use by all.
A crucial aspect of our trade mark service is to counsel and educate you on what makes a strong trade mark and how best to protect it.
Well-considered trade marks are powerful tools in building consumer recognition and reputation. They are the name above the door that drives a brand's success. As such, they are rights that are certainly worth enforcing and defending. However, on the basis of this value, it also means other trade mark owners are likely to vigorously police their own brands and rights.
Our trade mark attorneys assist in the obtaining of trade mark protection in the most efficient manner. Our work and skill is to help clients register a mark which does not infringe another, meaning the likelihood of a dispute is much lower. If an opposition dispute or litigation action is raised, we assist our clients through the provision of strategies that allow our clients to navigate such routes with minimal impact to their rights. By all means necessary, we will try and avoid a “go back to square one” outcome.
Trade mark litigation or opposition actions are most likely to occur when a party has not searched for a trade mark and as such, have not fully considered or assessed the earlier rights with which their mark may conflict.
However, by engaging an expert attorney, you need never encounter such issues.
With our guidance, we aim to arm our clients with the strongest rights applicable to their businesses. This provides powerful monopoly rights that can be used to ensure a clear path for brands to prosper and ensure a level of quality to the intended consumer.
We also apply strategies to ensure that any opposition or litigation actions are avoided thanks to our diligence and analysis processes in the search and filing stages. Trade mark disputes - however small - are damaging for a brand’s reputation and the costs can be more significant than solely financial.
At Keltie, our work in this area aims to avoid the unnecessary costs of aggressive enforcement or litigation. By involving our trade mark attorneys as early in the process as possible, we get you and your trade mark the most appropriate and complete protection possible.
The adage that ‘prevention is better than the cure’ firmly applies in our trade mark processes and with Keltie, you and your trade marks are in capable hands.
Services you may be interested in
Decades of experience as attorneys, engineers and scientists in industry and research underpin the approach of our patent team. We are resolutely commercial and take time to understand your technology and your business.
Keltie’s patent attorneys are skilled not only in patent searching, but in interpreting the output of a patent search, and in helping you understand what it means for your technology and your business.
Why file a patent application? Patents can serve multiple purposes during their lifetime. They grant the owner a period to enjoy the exclusivity of their invention before others can use it. They give the owner powerful rights recognised in law to prevent infringement. But they are also valuable intellectual property which can enhance the ability of the owner to exploit their technology commercially through licensing or sale of the invention.
A key reason to invest in patent protection is to prevent others from copying your innovation. The patent system is intended to allow you, as a creator, to enjoy exclusivity around your technology for a set period of time. Patents allow you to leverage that exclusivity in order to develop your commercial position.
What is the Patent Box? Patent Box is a tax incentive scheme designed to encourage innovation within the UK. Introduced in 2013, it is a government-backed initiative whereby company profits which are derivable from patented technology are taxed at a lower rate than standard corporation tax. The system is intended to provide a strong and supportive environment for innovation within the UK.
The attorneys in our Trade Mark Group are among the leading brand protection experts in the UK and Europe. Through our associate network, we coordinate brand protection all over the world. The Group comprises multi-lingual European and UK trade mark attorneys with backgrounds in law, engineering and business. Their expertise extends through the full lifecycle, from searching and filing through to opposition and litigation, including enforcement and appeal. The Group also has vast experience in online enforcement.
Before you start using a trade mark, it is good practice to conduct a search to check that the trade mark is free to use. Conducting this type of search can be challenging because there are so many trade marks in use across many different fields of commerce. This makes it difficult for people without trade mark qualifications to navigate other brand-owners’ rights, and avoid or manage potential conflict.
How to file a trade mark The trade mark filing process can be relatively straightforward. In theory, all an applicant needs to do is access the relevant trade mark website, enter the word they wish to create a mark for, add the relevant goods and services to apply to the mark and pay the fee.
What is trade mark protection? Trade mark protection is a means of securing a monopoly right in a word, logo, shape, colour or sound that acts as an identifier of origin, allowing consumers to immediately determine the source of the goods or services offered under that particular trade mark or brand.
Keltie's attorneys have an unusual wealth of expertise and experience in design rights. We help clients protect their designs, exploit their rights and mitigate risks.
If you are launching a new product there is a risk that it will infringe third party design rights. You can reduce the likelihood of costly conflict down the line, or at least be better informed of potential risk, by conducting a design search and clearance assessment before product launch. To do this, we search for relevant earlier rights - both registered and unregistered designs - help you assess the risk these pose to you, and guide you in any action that you might take to reduce and mitigate risk.
To protect your design with a registered right, a formal application must be made to the appropriate IP office. Obtaining a design registration is relatively quick (a matter of weeks or months in the EU and UK), which can be very useful for creators because it means rights and therefore protection can be granted swiftly.
As the owner of a design right, you are able to take action against another party if they market a product that is too visually similar to yours, without your permission. If their product is identical to your design, or if it differs in some ways but the impression the consumer takes from their product matches your design, you may be able to take action.
What is online brand protection? Protecting the value of your brand online is a lot to do with reputation management. In the age of the internet and social media, brands are global, accessible and more easy to engage with than ever before. Online brand protection services from Keltie seek to protect the credibility and equity you have built within your business and include our enforcement, monitoring and detection capabilities.
What is online brand monitoring? Monitoring involves the process of observing and tracking uses of your brand online. It is a key aspect of your business’ operations to both understand your customers’ sentiment towards the brand and uncover any instances where your intellectual property rights have been infringed.
A domain name provides a platform for visibility of a brand in an online space. It is a destination address for the web traffic generated around a brand name. However, simply put, a domain is a word, and a word can be trade marked. Often, people secure a domain name first in their process of creating a new product or service. Whilst an online presence is a key part of launching a new brand, it is a mistake to think that because you own a domain name, you will be able to secure a matching trade mark. The process should work the other way around - where a domain name becomes an additional asset secured following the clearance and registration of a trade mark.
People who work in this area
Jason has over 10 years’ experience in the IP profession. He regularly advises clients on the ownership, registration, enforceability and exploitation of IP rights.
Ben's practice focuses on securing and enforcing trade mark rights in the UK and globally for many well-known clients in sectors ranging from insurance and alcoholic beverages to entertainment and retail. He has particular experience in managing worldwide searching programmes to clear trade marks for use and registration, as well as managing due diligence exercises in support of mergers and acquisitions.
Having started her career in 1986 with an established trade mark and patent attorney firm, Rosemary joined David Keltie in founding David Keltie Associates, now Keltie in 1988, becoming a partner in 1994. She is a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney and Member of the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys.
Sean deals with all forms of intellectual property but spends most of his time on patents and designs. His patent practice extends over a huge range of technologies, from catalysts to computers. He is also involved with designs ranging from textiles to logos.
Alistair joined Keltie in 1997, following two years with a Glasgow-based patent and trade mark firm. Having qualified in 1998 to become a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney, European Trade Mark Attorney and Member of the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, he has been a partner in the firm since 2003. Based in the firm’s London office, Alistair is co-head of Keltie's trade mark practice, specialising in trade mark, design and copyright law.
Manuela's substantial trade mark practice ranges from clearance searches and prosecution, due diligence projects, oppositions and other contentious matters, negotiations and IP focussed contracts. She manages a significant number of worldwide trade mark portfolios being responsible for their overall strategy. Her client base and experience cover a broad spectrum of industries, but in particular, sports, pharmaceuticals and fashion.
Eleni deals with due diligence, filing and prosecution of trade mark applications around the world. She is also involved in copyright, design and company name matters. She has experience in clearance searching and preparing trade mark filing strategies, in addition to advising on registrability, infringement, passing off and the validity of trade marks. Eleni deals with contentious matters including filing and defending opposition, invalidation and revocation actions. She has experience in brand protection over a range of industries, particularly, luxury goods, gaming, retail, fashion, oil, automotive, food and drink sectors. Eleni is also a regular contributor to the CITMA Review.
Amelia joined Keltie in February 2017 and qualified as a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney in 2020. Amelia is responsible for the management of a wide range of UK, EU and International Trade Mark portfolios. She conducts trade mark searches, advises on trade mark filing strategies and coordinates assignment projects.
David is a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney. His responsibilities include the prosecution of trade marks, trade mark audits, conducting clearance searches and handling contentious matters such as trade mark opposition proceedings, infringement matters, revocation and invalidity actions.
Sectors we work in
No matter what your product, aesthetics are invaluable. They are the first impression of a product: the contours, shapes, colours and textures that catch our eye as we see, use and interact with it. Not only does a distinct aesthetic have its own value, but it can enhance function, reinforce brand recognition and loyalty, and drive consumer choice.
Branding has a key role to play in any industry. Brands are the flags that fly on behalf of a business or product. They are an identifier of origin that allows consumers to recognise where their products or services are coming from, so it is crucial that those brands resonate with consumers. They must also be kept free of problems that inhibit their ability to be the vehicle that drives a business.
Whether it is the development of novel materials and compounds, or the improvement of industrial processes to make them cleaner or more productive, chemical sciences underpin many of the aspects which are key to addressing the challenges of the 21st century. The diversity of innovation in chemistry is vast, with industry-leading companies combining resources and skills to create new products designed to solve problems and enhance our understanding.
Often referred to as a Fourth Industrial Revolution, emerging digital technologies which blend physical systems and digital technologies together are playing a more significant role in our everyday lives.
Engineering inventions can be found in hugely complex products, or deceptively simple creations. They can encompass almost any field of technology, and often several fields at once.
More so than almost all other scientific fields, our knowledge, understanding and expertise in biology has increased at a phenomenal pace over the past few decades. Since the high throughput sequencing power used in the human genome project was unleashed at the beginning of the 21st century, multiple '-omics' disciplines now characterise a diverse field that offers such enormous potential for medicine, food production, wellbeing and human expression.
Modern technologies and advancements in product design and manufacturing contribute to our being able to lead a more sustainable and improved lifestyle. These in turn are increasing both the expectancy and quality of life we are able to enjoy as consumers by combatting health challenges and diseases, improving diagnostics and developing new therapies.
Materials science and the technologies involved in manufacturing processes underpin almost every element of technological development. The function, quality, longevity and financial value of products are all impacted by their material make up and the mechanisms involved in their production.
Precision medicine, also referred to as personalised or stratified medicine, is an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention in which medical decisions, treatments and products are tailored to a subgroup of patients by taking into account the individual characteristics of each patient.
There are few greater challenges than starting a company from scratch but the rewards for taking a great idea or innovation and turning it into a successful business are substantial. At their inception, new companies grow quickly, driven by the dedication of owners and their will to make them profitable, but usually with limited financial resources. In order to become established and find a strong position within the market, startups need to attract external investment.
Sustainability or Green Technology is a hugely prominent sector as public consciousness, awareness and engagement with the ‘green agenda’ grows. As consumers, our behaviour can have a significant environmental impact and has prompted substantial strategic and financial support from national governments and the UN as they look to industry to develop sustainable solutions, products and technologies.
The rise of the internet and modern telecommunications has been underpinned by our ability to program computers to carry out complex operations. Almost every aspect of our lives has been advanced by developments in technology and software, making previously slow or complicated processes easier, faster and in some cases, cheaper.
Design Registration Strategy: The spectrum of protection
Ten differences between UK and EU registered designs
Dual filing, cloned rights and new guidelines: Brexit’s impact on Trade Marks, Designs and IP Management
Re-registering EU designs in the UK: Three scenarios to double check before the 30 September re-filing deadline
The long-term impact of Brexit on trade marks and designs
11.01.2023What is a trade mark?
Trade marks can apply to words, logos, colours, shapes, drawings, even sounds and smells. They are a badge of origin that allows a customer to see a brand or product, recognise it and know how they can repeat that transaction again.
10.01.2022Pharmaceutical trade marks - top tips
Choosing a unique trade mark is important in any field; however, the pharmaceutical industry features some unique trade mark challenges.
12.09.2022The long-term impact of Brexit on trade marks and designs
Six years on from the Brexit referendum, we can happily say that the measures put in place for trade marks and designs have been successful in delivering a smooth transition. But IP owners now need to pay attention to upcoming changes to rights of representation, particularly in light of the huge growth in applications at the UK IPO.