Following on from our recent post surrounding the topic of copyright for artists and photographers, we are going to take a closer look at trade marks. We investigate how these can be used in your art or photography work and where they could be a suitable requirement.
What are trade marks?
Trade marks are a form of intellectual property, much like copyright. Having a trademark in place can help protect you from someone stealing the name of your product or brand, the design or look of your products or the things you produce. You automatically have intellectual property rights over your work if you created it. However, unlike copyright, you must apply for trade marks on your work. Trade marks would be most suitable for you if you are looking to protect your name or logo particularly associated with your work. Trade marks allow you to proceed with legal proceedings against those that use your trade marked property without your permission.
Apply for a trade mark can be a lengthy process and it is suggested that the application process is likely to take around four-months. You must be aware, the process is private and confidential, however, if you wish to have assistance in the process from third parties, non-disclosure agreements are recommended. You can trade mark the following things; words, sounds, logos, colours or alternatively, a combination of these things. There are stringent rules in what you can trade mark, however, there is plenty of information available online to guide you along the process. Further to this, you must always check prior to application to ensure there has not been a trade mark registered for the same thing. Additionally, you cannot apply for common phrases or slogans that are non-distinctive.
The standard fee for applying for a trade mark would be up to £200. You can pay for additional trade marks to be applied which would include slight variations of your primary trade mark application. These variations are charged at £50 each and up to six can be submitted.
Following on from your application, you will receive initial feedback within 20-days. If there are amendments to be made, you will have two-months in which to complete these. Your trade mark will also be published in the trade mark journal (upon an initial successful application) for two-months following this at which point, anyone can oppose your application. If any objections are submitted these will need to be resolved before your trade mark is completed.
If you wish to proceed with applying for a trade mark, perhaps for your logo as either a photographer or artist, then it would be recommended that you undertake some research prior to the application process. The Intellectual Property Office has a wealth of resources available to read through. Furthermore, you can also contact a registered trade mark attorney. Don’t forget, different rules apply in different countries though! So if you’re planning on using your logo in different regions, this may require further investigation.
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