A trademark is the means by which a business identifies its goods or services and distinguishes them from the goods and services supplied by other businesses. A trademark may consist of words, designs, logos, letters, numerals or other signs or indications that are capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of others.
Registration of a trademark is one of the best ways to defend a brand and prevents others from using the trademark without the registered owner’s permission. It allows the owner to authorise others, by means of licensing, to use the trademark for the goods or services for which the trademark is registered. There is no legal obligation to register a trademark; however it does prevent others from benefiting from the reputation and goodwill established by the owner of the trademark. Once a trademark is registered, the owner of the trademark can issue infringement proceedings against any party who uses the trademark of another entity without their permission or licensing.
Applications to register a trademark in Ireland are processed through the Irish Patents Office. The document to be completed and filed is a Form No. 1 which requires details of the applicant, address for service, a copy of the trademark and the classifications of the goods or services for which the registration is sought. Classes of goods and services are broken down according to the Nice Classification system, established by the Nice Agreement (1957) for the purpose of registering trademarks.
The trademark must not be similar or identical to a trademark already existing (registered) or the subject of an existing pending application for registration in the same classes of goods or services. The Patents office provide an online database search function to check if similar or identical trademarks are, or are in the process of being, registered.
The initial application fee is €70. If an application contains goods or services in more than one class then there is a fee of €70 for each additional classification. Once filed, the application is examined by a trademark Attorney to ensure it complies with the requirements of the trademarks Act, 1996. A search of national and European trademark databases is carried out to check for similar or identical trademarks registered or pending with earlier filing dates. If a similar trademark is identified, the Patent Office will write to the applicant setting out the potential options available and the timeframe in which to respond.
Where a trademark is open to objection from other parties because it is considered similar or identical to an earlier mark, the objection can be surmounted by:
- Amending the application to remove the conflicting goods and/or services;
- Obtaining the consent of the owner of the earlier filed mark to the registration of the mark;
- Providing evidence in the form of a statutory declaration to prove honest concurrent use of the trademark for which registration is sought (i.e. that the trademark has been in use for a period of time); or
- By surrendering or revoking the registration.
Once the application clears the examination stage it is then advertised in the Official Journal of the Patents office and a three month period for the filing of observations or oppositions is provided. If no opposition is received within that time, then a request for the registration fee (€177) is issued. Once paid, a Certificate of Registration is issued which protects the trademark in Ireland for ten years from the date of filing of the application. This can be renewed for further periods of ten years. Only trademarks registered may use the trademark symbols.
Want to Trademark Your Business?
Protecting your trademark can be a complex area, but in the hands of experienced trademark professionals can be handled quickly for you, offering you the right advice and assurance that you’ve trademarked your business.
If you are interested in trademarking your business, brand or logo, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org