Trade marks

How to register a trade mark


In the UK, trade marks are registered through the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). You can apply to register your trade mark online or fill in paper forms. If you apply online, you may be able to avail of a discount if you pay the fee at the time of filing.

Apply to register a trade mark

You should follow several important steps when applying for trade mark registration:

  • Step 1: Choose your mark carefully and make sure that your brand qualifies as trade mark. You can't change the details after you submit your application and the fees are non-refundable. Find tips on selecting a strong trade mark.
  • Step 2: Carry out a trade mark search to check that your mark is free to use and register. A clearance search will help you avoid infringing earlier rights if your intended mark is already in use. See how to search for trade marks.
  • Step 3: In your application, you must specify under which trade mark class or classes you want your goods or services to be registered. Make sure that you list all the goods and services you want your trade mark to cover, as you can't add any later. See how to classify trade marks and use the IPO's trade mark search tool to help you search for, and classify, goods and/or services.
  • Step 4: Consider the jurisdiction you wish to register your trade mark in. UK registration will give you rights to protection in the UK only. If you plan to export, consider registering a trade mark outside the UK.

After you file your application, the registration process typically involves the IPO examining your application, the publication of your application in the online trade marks journal and the registration of your mark on the trade mark database.

How long does it take to register a trade mark in the UK?

In a straightforward case, if the examiner doesn't raise any objections and nobody opposes your application, the registration usually takes around four months from the application date.

To help you understand the process of applying for a trade mark, the IPO has published a trade mark timeline chart. This gives you an indication of your responsibilities and tells you what happens once you submit your application to the IPO. Different processes exist for registering EU and international trade marks.

How much does it cost to register a trade mark in the UK?

It costs from £170 to register a trade mark online and £200 to register by post - this is for registering a trade mark in the UK in one class of goods and services only.

Each additional class costs £50, so the more classes covered, the higher the cost of filing is. You must file a fee sheet with your application and payment. Find trade mark forms and fees.

You can use the IPO's Right Start service if you want to check that your application meets the rules for registration. You initially pay £100, plus £50 for each additional class. You then get a report telling you if your application meets the rules. If you want to continue with your application, you have to pay the full fee within 28 days of getting your report. You can also choose to continue your application even if it does not meet the rules for registration.

How long does a trade mark last in the UK?

A UK trade mark registration lasts for ten years, after which you can renew it, provided that you pay your renewal fees on time.

If you need advice or help with applying to register a trade mark, speak to Invest Northern Ireland intellectual property advisers or contact a chartered trade mark attorney.

  • IPO Information Centre
    0300 300 2000