• Mon. Dec 11th, 2023

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Understanding UK Trademarks Locally And In The EU

A trademark is a symbol that represents the origin of products and a recognizable intellectual property that represents the company of those goods. Trademarks have about 400 years of history in the United Kingdom, dating back to the monarchy of King James I. They’re what enables customers to distinguish your company from others.

But a trademark is also your property. As such, like any other business element, it’s a must for everyone in the company to secure your intellectual property at all costs.

Why Protecting Your Trademark Is Vital

A trademark can be in the form of a logo, slogan, symbol, or registered name. It’s how customers and other businesses can find you, especially in a condensed market. Trademarks are officially registered so different companies won’t be able to copy them. That means failing to do so could make you lose the rights to certain ideas and creative concepts.

Registered trademarks help you ensure that you have a claim over the characteristics and uniqueness of your products. Local brands and international companies alike must register their trademarks in the UK if they want to be protected in the country. If you can’t do so in person, then file your registration online instead. There are online services dedicated to safeguarding what belongs to you and your business. They have account managers and experienced attorneys on their team who can help you out with various trademark-related issues.

The Differences Of The UK And EU Trademark Registration

Businesspeople who only operate their companies within the United Kingdom must register their business for a UK trademark. This protects the rights of those in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Local businesses in the European territories apply for an EU trademark, which offers protection for the rights of all 27 of its member countries. It’s for business owners wanting to operate and expand their enterprise in Europe.

A one-time application can get you a wide range of rights. This is done at a first-come-first-served basis, which means you must apply immediately depending on how soon you want the process to begin. You have to be aware of some key considerations and preparations before registering a trademark. If you can’t do it independently, a trademark registration service will help you should you have any questions.

If you need protection in all European countries, you must register your trademark at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The countries included are the following:

  • Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, and Greece
  • Latvia, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, and Belgium
  • Cyprus, Eire, France, Hungary, and Lithuania
  • The Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic
  • Estonia, Germany, Italy, and Luxembourg,
  • Poland, Slovakia, and Sweden

If you’re only going to do business in Belgium, Luxembourg, or the Netherlands, you can attain protection in all those countries by registering at the Benelux Office of Intellectual Property (BOIP).

Brexit And New UK Intellectual Property Office Rules

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union was a transitional event that lasted a year from January 31st to December 31st of 2020, resulting in new agreements to the relationship between the two parties. There were also implications on the intellectual property laws that the United Kingdom and the European Union shared. The UK getting out of the EU Union meant that the rights and general principles of the union should no longer apply to the former. But that also means that agreements are at hand since they concern UK and EU citizens doing businesses in each other’s regions.

Negotiations proceeded in a manner that all businesses should learn from as it was no easy task. Each party was trying to compromise to protect companies coming from a different side of the world. And while powerplay was tempting, the best negotiators chose to ask questions and be reasonable instead of imposing their beliefs.

The changes include that the UK rights will automatically follow EU trademark protocols for registered businesses as of December 31st of 2020. The UK will follow the same procedures regarding filing, priority, renewal dates, and prioritization. Obtaining UK rights remains free of charge, but the payment for the renewal date starting January 1, 2020 must be made at the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) to stay registered. That would be the same in the case of the EUIPO.

In Conclusion

Given that you’re a businessperson who values quality above everything else, your trademark is a vital element of your business that you must secure so your customers know who’s providing them with the best service. It’s essential to understand how you can protect your trademark, especially if you own multiple businesses and are branching overseas. You’ll be able to serve your customers longer and get more benefits when your trademark is appropriately protected.

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