I’m in the process of starting up an online fashion business. As you can imagine, funds are fairly tight but I want to ensure I’ve protected my fledging business brand name as much as possible. I’ve done some preliminary searches for trademarks via the IPO as well as online generally and the name I want doesn’t seem to be taken by other businesses. As far as I can see I have two options: Budget option (but less protection/deterrence): If I add a ‘TM’ after the business name, does this work mainly as a deterrent to other companies? Send myself a special delivery letter with the company name, and than lodge it, unopened, with my bank – I assume this is more useful of a dispute over trademarks arises in future. I assume that buying the domain name I want, I have effectively protected it anyway as long as I keep renewing as required? Other other ways I can protect the company name at low or no cost? More expensive option (but more protection and more of a deterrence): As I have a basic understanding of intellectual property (via my law degree ten years ago) and there doesn’t seem to be any complications with my company name, I could apply for a trademark on my company name myself. Any thoughts on doing this myself? Finally, am I right in thinking that if I do apply for a trade mark, the key thing to protect is the company name as the domain name (once bought) would only be able to be used by me and would have the company name within it anyway? Thanks
Tm is a sign that the trademark is unregistered and a unregister trademark may be protectable only within the geographical area within which it has been used or in geographical areas into which it may be reasonably expected to expand.
So if you live in london and called your business Kai clothes and I lived in manchester and called my business Kai clothes it would be hard to protect unless you can prove that my business is causing confusion between the two companies.
Domain names cannot show you have trademark as before you could have kaiclothes.co.uk and I can have kaiclothes.com or .biz or .org or .co. or .uk.com.
The key thing to do is show your business was trading as your business name.
Register with HMRC as self emplyed with a business name or as a limited company. Then get an invoice out or receive official documentation to you with your trade name.
For best protection you want to register:-
BUSINESS NAME *** (Many people forget this one) ****
Do a search on Google for "Business Name Register" and then click on the site – they are base din Birmingham, and I recommend the Business Name registration service they also offer a search facility to check the availability of all of above.
They also offer to pay your legal fees in the event that some attempts to pass off as you.
The key thing to remember in ANY legal dispute is whether you have the ABILITY TO FOLLOW THROUGH, and many people simple can’t afford to do so. hence the business name registration is a very attractive offer. (Circa £75 +-)
Another thing you can do is check out http://www.reactinsurance.com for protecting yoru copyrighted materials and intellectual property – an insurance policy to help protect you.
Hope that helps.