Guide

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 discounts if you pay the fee at the time of filing.

Representation of a trade mark

Following the implementation of the Trade Mark Regulations 2018, you no longer have to represent your mark graphically when you apply.

From 14 January 2019, you can file your mark online in an electronic format such as MP3, MP4 and JPEG. Read about the representation of marks in GOV.UK's new trade mark law guidance.

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 get it right first time. You can't change the details after you submit your application. 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: Define your goods and services. In your application for trade mark registration, you must specify under which 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.
  • 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. You can apply to register a trade mark in the UK or, 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.

Download the IPO's trade mark timeline chart (PDF, 114K).

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 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'll then get a report telling you if your application meets the rules. If you want to continue, you must pay the full fee within 14 days of getting your report.

How long does a trade mark last in the UK?

A UK trade mark registration lasts for ten years, after which time you can renew it indefinitely 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.