Trademarks protect any sign that is associated with a business and gives legal protected for a brand. Signs that can be protected include Words, Logos, shapes, Business name, colours, music / sounds and anything that represents a business. Examples are the colour red for the London buses and the triangular shape of the Toblerone chocolate bar.

In choosing a trademark, you should first check to make sure it has not been registered. This can be done on our trademark database. Also, you should choose a trademark that doesn’t describe the goods and/or services of the business. If it does, your application would be rejected. For example, if your company produces belts, you can’t trademark a logo that describes belt making or a slogan like ‘we make good belts’.

Your trademark cannot:

  • Be offensive.
  • Describe the goods and/or services it will relate to.
  • Be misleading.
  • Be a 3-dimensional shape associated with your business, e.g., you can not use a 3-d shape of a mug for a mug selling business.
  • Be too common.
  • Look like protected emblems like the Olympic logo.

Trademark protection is usually within a particular business industry. This means that a car manufacturing industry can have a trademark that can be used by a clothing line, without infringing any copyright laws. However, each business must apply for the trademark within its industry categorisation. An example is ‘Polo’ Used as a car brand, clothing brand and confectionary brand.

There are 45 categorisations or classifications of goods & services, which includes: Furniture, clothing, advertising etc. You trademark would fall into one of the classifications so you must check to make sure no other business in the same classification as yours, uses a similar trademark.