Newsletter: Protecting your IP with trademarks

It’s been an exciting month for Seven Legal clients – the mobiWAN headset by Mobilus Labs has just been featured by TIME as one of their best inventions of 2021. Framework have also been in the press lately, with this great write-up by TechCrunch. We work closely with our clients and love basking in their reflected glory!

Two-minute masterclass: trade marks (TM)

Need to know: Typically TMs take the form of words or logos, though it is possible to protect more unusual forms of TM such as colours, slogans, shapes of products or packaging, sounds, motions and even smells. TMs may be registered or unregistered. Registering TMs usually offers the best protection. Unregistered TMs can be enforced in certain circumstances under the law of passing off.

Red Flags: Registering a company name at Companies House does not provide TM protection for that name. Likewise, a domain name registration alone will not enable the registrant to prevent others using the name in another context, in the absence of registered or unregistered TM rights.

Fun fact: It is a criminal offence to use the TM symbol if your TM is not registered.

Things to consider:

  1. Territory. Brand owners have to think carefully about the territories in which they require TM protection – this may be in jurisdictions where goods are manufactured as well as where the goods are marketed and sold.
  2. Classifications. There are 45 classes to consider: classes 1-34 cover goods and classes 35-45 cover services. See them all listed here.
  3. Choosing a mark. Marks must be distinctive and not be descriptive, customary in the relevant trade, deceptive / offensive or comprised exclusively of a shape or characteristic of the good themselves.

Want to know more? Contact us to speak to our TM expert Mo. We have also posted a guide on our website. You’ll find this on our Insights page.

Next time...

Next time in two-minute masterclass: Data Protection

Pitfalls to avoid when scaling...

Our Founder Bill joined the Legacy Club this month for a webinar on the common pitfalls to avoid when scaling a business. We’ll be bringing you the full list of 10 pitfalls on the Insights page of our website soon. Until then, here’s a teaser of the first pitfall that we see too many businesses fall into and how to avoid it…

1. Due diligence panic
You never know when a great opportunity will come along. For that reason, you should always be ready to raise and sell. Mergers and acquisitions follow similar processes to fundraising, so prep early. Manage internal operations with a due diligence questionnaire or checklist and by setting up a due diligence room (an online space where you maintain all documents that will be relevant to a sale, acquisition or merger).

Follow us on social media

On our social media channels, we regularly post news and updates about legal issues relevant to start-ups and entrepreneurs. Find us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Come say hello – we would love to connect!

Get the latest legal insights for your business

If you head over to the Seven Legal website, you’ll find our new Insights page.

We’ll be adding articles regularly on the legal issues you need to know about as a business owner, Founder or entrepreneur. We’ve already written articles on EMI schemes, changes to the Employment Act and how this could affect your business and, of course, our Seven Legal Guide to Trade Marks. 

Our Insights page gives us the space to go in to more detail on the topics that matter to you. However, if you still have questions or want to chat through issues you’re facing, you can get in touch with us any time – just give us a call.