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Trade Marks, Brand Protection and Brand Enforcement

Your business’s brand can be extremely valuable and great care should be taken to ensure you make the most of it and it is protected.

When it comes to protecting your brand, registered trade mark protection is the strongest form of brand protection you can have. There are various elements of a brand that you can protect through registration – a word (for example name), a logo, a shape and, in some cases, even the smell!

A trade mark is a ‘badge of origin’. It helps consumers distinguish one brand from another and to know that the goods or services they’re getting are as expected. A registered trade mark is acquired over a particular geographical area. For example, if you want to protect your mark in the UK, you apply for a registered trade mark to the UK Intellectual Property Office.

You pay a fee to obtain a registered trade mark, and protection lasts indefinitely, provided you pay a renewal fee every 10 years.

You can also trade under a mark without registering it, but this gives weaker protection.

How can Thorntons help?

Our Intellectual Property team can advise you on creating and strengthening your brand, how to trade mark and protect it, and making the most of potential licensing agreements.

We take the time to get to know you and your business, and can work with you to develop a comprehensive brand strategy, taking into account new marketing opportunities as well as the traditional channels, to help expand your customer base and increase your market share.

If you believe that another person or company is infringing your registered trademark, we can help you bring an infringement case. And if you have an unregistered mark, we can help you bring a claim for passing off. We do not encourage litigation and most matters can be resolved out of court.

Once the strength of your brand is established, other businesses may be keen to capitalise on being associated with the brand. We can help you with sponsorship agreements and licensing agreements, allowing your business to benefit from a variety of royalties, from a fixed annual royalty or licence fee, to a fee calculated on the basis of sales figures.

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