Register a trademark: basics

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Register a trademark: basics

Protecting your trademark (brand, logo or wordmark) is the most important investment that you can make. Customers associate your products or services with the name of your business, and this name distinguishes you from your competitors. Owning a trademark means that you—and only you—can use it for your products or services.

So what is a trademark? A trademark is anything, which distinguishes your products from the products of your competitor; it can be a logo, a word, a smell, a sound and even a gesture.

When you register your trade mark, you’ll be able to:

  • take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission, including counterfeiters
  • put the ® symbol next to your brand - to show that it’s yours and warn others against using it
  • sell and license your brand

Here, in Bonamark, we can help you to register all the types of trademarks. 

What you can and can't register

Your trade mark must be unique. It can include: words, sounds, logos, colours, a combination of any of these

Your trade mark can’t:

  • be offensive, eg contain swear words or pornographic images
  • describe the goods or services it will relate to, eg the word ‘cotton’ can’t be a trade mark for a cotton textile company
  • be misleading, eg use the word ‘organic’ for goods that aren’t organic
  • be a 3-dimensional shape associated with your trade mark, eg use the shape of an egg for eggs
  • be too common and non-distinctive, eg be a simple statement like ‘we lead the way’
  • look too similar to state symbols like flags or hallmarks, based on World Intellectual Property Organization guidelines

Check if your trade mark is already registered

You can order a trademark research before you send your application to check if anyone has already registered an identical or similar trade mark for the same or similar goods or services.

Unsure if your trademark can be registered?

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Strong and Weak Trademarks

Not all trademarks are equally strong, and only strong trademarks can be easily registered. Your trademark is your Intellectual Property. Advertisement adds value to your trademark. Your reputation and the quality of your products and services are associated with your trademark, which makes it an important asset of your business.

What is a strong trademark?

A strong trademark is a unique trademark that does not describe associated products or services.
The main rule is that the trademark should distinguish your products or services from other products and services.

What does this mean?

  • The trademark CAR for cars is not a good option. It is too generic.
  • The trademark Fast for cars is also not a good option. It is descriptive. 
  • The trademark Ford is a bad choice for cars, since this is a well-known, existing trademark.
  • The trademark Pine for cars may be a good option, since it is neither descriptive nor generic. 
  • A newly-coined word can make a good trademark. If there are no similar trademarks, it is likely that it will be accepted.

Our Trademark Research will help you determine whether or not your trademark is strong enough to be protected. We encourage you to order our trademark research to determine whether or not any similar trademarks already exist.

Can I obtain an international trademark?

It is important to understand that trademarks are territorial, which means that they are protected only in the countries in which they are registered.

Any questions?

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Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Our Services

International Trademark Search

Check if your trademark is available for registration.

International Trademark Registration

Protecting your trademark is the most important investment you can make.

International Trademark Watch

Be informed of recently applied similar or identical trademarks.