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What is allowed as a registered trade mark?

To be registrable, trade marks must be distinctive for the goods and services you provide. A registered trade mark must allow consumers to differentiate your goods or service from another company’s.

For this reason, made up words are generally acceptable as trade marks. Real examples are:

  • AventiqYes
  • Qinetic Yes
  • Viagra Yes

Examiners will also accept word marks involving known names, if none similar have already been registered, such as

  • Fortnum & Mason Yes
  • Wayne’s Patisserie Yes
  • Shakespeare shipping Yes

Also, common words used in unfamiliar ways:

  • Snail Plumbing Yes
  • Air Publishing Yes
  • Salt CDs Yes

What is not allowed as a registered trade mark?

Trade mark applications will be refused if the trade mark describes your goods or services or any characteristics of them:

  • Leather Handbags No
  • Japanese Plates No
  • Cheaper Flooring No

Examiners will also refuse to register trade marks which are made up of descriptions customary in your line of business:

  • Tastes Great Chocolate No
  • Built To Last Beds No
  • Taxis Direct No

Trying to get around the distinctiveness or common phrase barrier by intentional misspelling does not work:

  • Klever Klene No
  • Supa Food No

Your trade mark application will also be turned down if it includes offensive words or images; is against the law in any way e.g. promoting illegal activities; or is deceptive – attempting to persuade the public that your goods and services have a quality which they do not.

Updated on 11th September 2020

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