Registering a Trademark Before You Start Franchising
Registering a Trademark is one of the most effective and important ways to protect your brand name before you start franchising, so how do you go about doing it?
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Trademarking your brand, business, and work is the best way to protect everything. Many people can struggle with registering their trademark by themselves and turn to a lawyer for simple applications.
The majority of trademark registrations you can do by yourself, which only costs a small amount of time and effort compared to lawyer costs. Read ahead for a quick step by step guide to registering your trademark, but if ever you are unsure, consult a lawyer to get it right!
Trademark Application Start
The application process starts at the IPO/GOV site [https://www.gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark/apply] where you can click the green ”start now” button under Apply.
Who is Registering
Whether you’re registering a trademark for yourself or on behalf of a company, they can ask if you are authorised to do so. If you are working without a lawyer, leave the current option of ”the owner of the trademark or authorised person within their business” and select next to continue.
If you have filed a trademark previously, then you can retrieve your details by entering your e-mail. If this is the first time you are registering, then you must use your postal address so that they can reach you for certifications of communications and trademarks.
Trademarks Basic Format
You will be asked whether your trademark contains words, letters, or numbers within it. For example ”Shoe Sales Together” or ”Shoe Sales 10” are both acceptable. The majority of trademarks do have these, and so if it is a typical application, select yes and proceed.
An instance where you would select no would be in the case of a specific tune, like background music for a video game.
Enter a More Advanced Format of your Trademark
Once your name has been put in, you will be asked to define your trademark category further.
Statement A – Contains words, letters, and numbers. If your trademark has only a specific name or phrase without any graphics or stylised fonts you want to protect, then this is the one you need to click.
Statement B – Contains words, letters, and numbers in a specific style, colour, or alongside a picture. This option is the most common, and if you want to protect your name, design, stylised font, graphics and phrases, then this is the option for you. You will be asked to upload the logo or graphic which you are wanting to trademark if choosing this option.
Statement C – Does not contain words, letters, and numbers. This is for people who are trademarking things such as sound and isn’t often used.
Single or Series
At this point, you will be asked if you are trademarking a series or single trademark. A single trademark is just for one design, word, or phrase. This gives you generally good protection for if somebody tries to copy your work with slight changes. If you do want to make sure it is further protected, then you can trademark a series of changes, for example, a mobile logo. This will cost you an added on £50 per change. It can be unnecessary, but if you want to make sure you are legally sound, then a series of trademarks will be beneficial.
Class and Term
Class is the industry in which your mark will be classed as. For example, if you are in retail or agriculture, they are two different areas, and terms within these classes can be quite specific in what to do.
There are two options to find your class. You can search using a keyword or select a class and see its terms for you to choose. Don’t worry about how many options there seem to be; a lot of people can feel overwhelmed here when there is no need to be.
Using a search is easy but can provide inaccurate matches and sometimes have no suggestions. The easiest way, although time-consuming, is to look through each class to find your relevant area, and in turn, find your relevant term. Take time at this point to ensure you get it right, in case you ever need to defend a trademark in the future.
If you really ‘can’t figure out your class, then it is time to speak to a lawyer who can help you. Once ‘you’re happy with your choice, then click next to continue.
Supplying a disclaimer is where you word out the rights exactly that ‘you’re claiming in regards to your new trademark. As stated when you reach this stage, 99% of applications don’t need to use this step, as the protection given us usually good. If you are unsure, contact a lawyer, and if you are happy without one, then select no to apply a disclaimer and click next to proceed
Decide for a Priority or Normal Claim Filing
If you want to file a priority claim, then you can do this if you applied for this trademark outside of the UK in the last six months. The majority will click no, but if yes, then you will need to provide proof of this filing to receive priority.
Select Type of Trademark
The majority of people at this stop, when asked for your type of trademark, will select the basic, ”trademark”. A collective mark is for trade associations. A certification mark guarantees any goods or services bearing your mark so that it meets a standard of quality and its unique characteristics stand out.
Trademark Examination Type
Standard – £170 non-refundable fee, which is payable upfront and takes roughly 20 days for the examination.
Right Start – £200 with only £100 needed to be paid upfront, with £100 returning to you if for whatever reason it is rejected. This takes roughly 20 days for the examination.
If you have added multiple classes, for both, it will be an extra £50. As soon as you think you have everything ready, then your application should be processed without any issues.
Review and Submit Application
This section will show you every detail you have entered so that you can change and review before submitting. Once submitted, this cannot be changed, so be sure to look for spelling errors or random classes.
Once you have proceeded and paid, make sure you take a picture and record your application number. Just in case your e-mail doesn’t come through for whatever reason. It should take about three months until your trademark is filed, but can also be challenged at this stage, so keep that in mind.