Trade marks

Introduction

Guide

Trade marks are signs that distinguish your products and services from those of other traders. A trade mark may be a distinctive word, phrase, logo, picture, shape, sound, smell or colour, or even a combination of all these elements.

This guide explains what is a trade mark. It tells you how to search for trade marks to ensure that no one else is using the same or similar mark as the one you wish to protect. It also tells you how to register a trade mark in the UK or further afield.

There is no legal requirement to register a trade mark. However, registration can give you legal rights to use your mark, licence or sell it, or to take action against anyone who uses your mark without permission. This guide outlines the necessary steps you should take when protecting registered trade marks.

Some areas of trade mark law have been affected by EU Exit. For current information on these, see: EU trade mark protection and comparable UK trade marks from 1 January 2021 and changes to international trade mark registrations after 1 January 2021.

  • Invest NI Helpline
    0800 181 4422