How to register a trademark in the UK: Step-by-step guide

Register a trademark in the UK if you are looking for ways to protect your company.

Most entrepreneurs believe in the myth that registering as a sole trader, registering a domain name, or registering their business with Companies House protects their brand. However, applying for a business trademark is entirely different and has its benefits.

This process sometimes gets complicated, especially when third-party providers take advantage of your uncertainty.

They promise to do the task on your behalf for considerable money. But, if you know the process right, registering a trademark is quite simple.

This article will offer a step-by-step guide on how to trademark in the UK.

Table of contents

What is a trade mark?
What’s the difference between trademarks, patents, and copyrights?
How do I register my trademark in the UK?
The cost of trademark registration in the UK
Conclusion

What is a trade mark?

A trademark in the UK is a legally protected symbol, logo, phrase, or name that distinguishes a business’s goods or services from others. It provides exclusivity and brand recognition, preventing others from using similar marks in the same industry.

Even if someone attempts to copy or steal intellectual property, you can take legal action against them.

Registering a trademark in the UK ensures legal protection against infringement and helps businesses establish a unique brand identity.

●  How long does a trademark last UK?
The length of the registration process varies from business to business, depending on their unique attributes. In general, it takes around four months to complete the whole process.

This trademark registration exists for ten years in the UK, after which you need to renew it along with the appropriate renewal fees on time.

What’s the difference between trademarks, patents, and copyrights?

The best part of trademarks, patents, and copyright is that they are all used to protect certain things. However, they have a few fundamental differences, as listed below.

Trademarks: They are mainly used for protecting logos and symbols that are primarily associated with your brand’s long-term reputation and longevity.
Patents: They are used to protect a company’s new inventions or anything that you believe is entirely new. You can get patents even for a component of something already existing, like an upgrade or parts created by manufacturers.
Copyrights: These are inherent rights that safeguard original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. You don’t have to do much to get this protection; it starts when you finish the work.

How do I register my trademark in the UK?

According to the United Kingdom Trademark Law, businesses must consider 5 critical steps while registering their trademark.

1.  Define your trademark
The first step of the trade mark application procedure is to determine what exactly you want to trademark. It can be words, sounds, logos, colours, or a combination. 

For example, McDonald’s has its logo trademarked, as does its slogan, “I’m lovin’ it”.

If your trademark is unique, the process is easy. However, there are a few limitations to getting a trademark, especially when it’s too ambiguous, unethical, or potentially unfair to others.

2.  Search for trademarks on the register.
The next step in the process is to explore the trademark register to check if a similar brand design exists; otherwise, your application will not be taken as original.

3.  Select trademark classification
Now, you must determine your branding classification, defined as the category of products and services your company will cover.

The government created a specialised trademark search tool to make the process easier. Presently, there are 45 trademark classifications across multiple industries, covering 34 products and 11 services.

However, if your brand belongs to multiple categories, you must register in all classes to which your company belongs.

4.  Submit your trademark application.
When you have all the information gathered, you can put it on the online form. You need to register online with the Intellectual Property Office in the UK to start the process or send a TM3 form via post.

5.  Address any feedback
When there are no initial objections to your application’s acceptability, the form will be published in the Trade Marks Journal for two months. During this period, anyone can challenge your application because it is similar to an existing trademark and/or a dispute based on ethical morality.

The cost of trademark registration in the UK

Two trademark application forms are available in the UK, a standard application form and a renewal form.

●  First-time application
When someone is registering a trademark for the first time, they must pay £170 for an online application and £200 for sending an application via post.

The other option is to use the “Right Start” application, where you must initially pay £100. If your application meets all the trademark rules, you will receive a report and then pay another £100 to submit your official application.

TitleCost
Trademark standard application£170 online (£200 by post)
Trademark ‘Right Start’ application£100 upfront (+£100 upon confirmation)

●  Trademark renewal
When renewing an existing trademark licence, you must pay £200 for one class of business and £50 for every additional business class.

TitleCost
Trademark renewal for one class£200
Trademark renewal for each additional class£50

You cannot register a trademark in the UK for free. If any third-party provider promises to offer you the services without charging a fee, then ignore them. Mostly, they are scams and can push you towards uncertainty and costly mistakes.

●  How much can a third-party trademark registration service cost?
Numerous UK solicitors provide trademark registration services at a fixed rate, typically between £600-£1,000 with VAT.

If you have more than one class registered, the cost per additional class is £150, plus VAT charges.

If you seek help from a third-party trademark registration service provider, you may need to pay up to £830. It is much more than you must pay while registering a trademark online. However, large and established businesses with complicated intellectual property can hire such solicitors.

Conclusion

Registered trademarks are any company’s most valuable assets in brand establishment, protection, and commercialisation. However, you must do the registration process and select the right trademark for a better identity.

An expert can always help you at any point in the process, and having them at your back in the initial years can be helpful.

Experlu Editorial Team
The editorial team at Experlu is comprised of seasoned financial professionals dedicated to providing high-quality content on accounting and finance. With a wealth of experience and diverse expertise, the team produces insightful articles that have established the Experlu blog as the UK's leading financial and accounting resource. The team includes accountants, auditors, and business advisors who stay updated with the latest industry developments. Their commitment to excellence ensures that Experlu remains a trusted source of information, helping readers stay informed about audit, business, finance, and tax matters.