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A trade mark operates as a guarantee of commercial origin and, unlike a patent or design, it can last indefinitely provided you renew it regularly (usually every 10 years).

 

Your trade mark lets potential customers know that a particular product or service originates from your business and, by doing so, it enables your business to build up valuable goodwill and reputation.

It is important that the sign you select as your trade mark is actually capable of identifying your business and does not, for example, merely describe your product or service or the geographical location of manufacture. If a sign is not inherently capable of functioning as an indicator of commercial origin, it may take you many years of use and promotion to acquire what is known as a 'secondary meaning' in the mark. Only then would you be in a position to enforce your rights or to obtain registered trade mark status on the basis of distinctiveness acquired through use.

It is also important that your trade mark is not likely to be confused with an earlier trade mark or the owner of that mark may be able to stop your continued use with consequent loss and damage to your business.

For these reasons, it is vital to obtain specialist trade mark advice before expending time and money on developing a brand identity or upon the production of goods, packaging, or promotional material that will bear the mark.

Registered Trade Marks
Community Trade Marks
International Trade Marks

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