Trademarks are a form of intellectual property protection granted on intangible assets such as brand names, slogans and logos. Applications for trademarks can be made to the Intellectual Property Office and are one of the most ways for businesses and entrepreneurs to protect their assets.

What is a trademark?

Trademarks are designed to legally protect a unique or distinctive way of representing goods or services provided by your business. They are a form of intellectual property protection and often form an essential part of a firm’s marketing activities.

What can trademarks be granted for?

Trademarks are only granted on intangible assets such as words or slogans, symbols, logos, sounds or jingles, brand names and gestures. Trademarks are only granted for distinctive assets that set your firm apart from other companies. Assets must not mislead people or other businesses about the nature of your services.

Common law trademarks

Common law affords basic trademark protection automatically but only if sufficient trading reputation and goodwill has been built up the intellectual property. Defending an infringement dispute with only common law protection can be difficult and very expensive so it is advisable to apply for a registered trade mark.

What does a trademark provide?

A trademark provides legal protection for your intellectual property and prevents third parties from using your IP in any way. A granted trademark legally proves that your intellectual property belongs to you alone. You will then have the right to sue any third parties that use your trademark without permission. Registering a trademark also allows you to derive royalties from licensing arrangements with third parties.

How to apply for a trademark

Trademark applications must be submitted to the Intellectual Property Office; complete form TM3 online or submit paper form TM3 (PDF, 60k) and send it, along with the appropriate fee and fee sheet, to the Intellectual Property Office Trade Marks Registry.