Intellectual Property

Trade marks

Every organisation uses a trade mark to identify that it is responsible for a particular product  and/or service.

By having a strong and distinctive trade mark, consumers and businesses can easily make repeat purchases in confidence that the additional products and/or services originate from the same undertaking.

Trade marks come in many different forms, including word marks, logos, smells, gestures, colours and sounds.

Trade mark rights are territorial. It is critical to ensure that you secure registered trade marks in relevant countries to prevent third parties from using an identical or similar mark and to prevent others from blocking the use and registration of your own mark.

Our specialist trade mark lawyers are located across the UK in our many offices including in Bristol, Exeter, London, Plymouth and Southampton.

In the UK, there are two rights which protect a trade mark

The unregistered UK trade mark

This often appears with the letters TM/’™’ next to it. This right arises automatically and protects the goodwill associated with the mark through the law of passing off. To rely on unregistered rights to prevent a third party from using an identical or similar mark, you must show goodwill in the brand, a misrepresentation from the other side (that its goods or services originate from or are licensed by the brand owner) and damage. This is often difficult to show and the rights in passing off are quite narrow.

The UK registered trade mark

This often appears with the letter R/’®’ next to it. This right is applied for and, once registered, it typically protects the trade mark against the use and registration of an identical or similar mark in relation to identical or similar goods and/or services. Well-known marks can also be enforced in relation to dissimilar goods and services. The right is often much easier to prove and enforce than the unregistered equivalent.

Why choose Foot Anstey?

At Foot Anstey, we work with you to consider your present and future commercial goals and ensure the trade mark strategy is bespoke and suitable for you in the short and long term.

We advise our clients on how to secure the right level of trade mark protection in the UK and internationally. Our advice ensures that clients have strong rights, which helps to reduce the number of disputes and to make any current disputes much easier and less expensive to resolve.

Our expert trade mark lawyers and attorneys take a holistic approach to your instruction and will advise you not only on what to protect, but how such rights will be enforced. We will take time to get to know you and your objectives and then cut through the legal jargon in order to provide clear advice on how best to achieve your goals. We collaborate with you to ensure that our advice is easily integrated and actionable.

Our clients range from entrepreneurs to start-ups and some of the world’s leading multinational brands with trade mark portfolios in various sectors – such as retail, technology, energy and infrastructure and education.

The team work regularly with reputable partner law firms all around the world, meaning our advice is specifically tailored to your target market. Through our network, we can reach out quickly to resolve an issue and secure expert advice.

Our specialists can provide you with strategic assistance in every stage of a trade mark's lifecycle

Examples of trade mark support

  • Advising on the registrability of a trade mark
  • Devising a bespoke trade mark protection strategy
  • Conducting a clearance search to determine if you are free to use and register your mark
  • Securing a trade mark registration
  • Helping you overcome any new or existing issues with a pending trade mark application
  • Taking action (infringement, opposition or invalidation proceedings) against another mark which conflicts with your right or defend such an action on your behalf
  • Managing your trade mark portfolio
  • Putting watch notices in place to ensure that you receive early notice if a third party uses or registers an identical or similar brand exploiting your rights by drafting trade mark licences and assignments
  • Delivering up to date and topical updates on relevant commercial and legal issues via our complimentary newsletter and website articles
  • Trade mark due diligence
  • Auditing of trade marks

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Our people

Our team, led by renowned IP specialist Paul Cox, will understand what you are trying to achieve and then will advise on the best and most cost effective solutions to enable you to maximize the value and achieve your commercial objectives. Paul has also been admitted into the Legal 500 Hall of Fame for Intellectual Property (South East).

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