The importance of Trademarking
Northern Ireland is the home of a number of trademarks which are recognised locally and internationally.
Bushmills,Tayto and Nambarrie are well established over many years and more recently Chain Reaction Cycles, Shortcross Gin, Suki Tea among many others have become recognised for their innovative and award winning products. These examples illustrate the value of a good trademark to small and medium sized companies.
Trademark protection is one of the most cost effective ways for a small company to protect its intellectual assets.
Using a brand name that already belongs to someone else is one of the most common mistakes made by start up businesses. They are enthusiastic to progress the business, love the name they have chosen and it often does not occur to them that someone else may already be using it.
If a company proceeds with using a trademark already registered by another company it can quickly lead to a legal demand to stop using the trademark and possible significant costs of rebranding and having to change packaging, website etc.
It is also important to highlight that company name, domain name and trademark all need separate registration. Many entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that if they register a company name and a website they are sorted but this is not the case.
Get support with trademarks
We provide a range of advice and support services to small and medium companies to assist them in registering trademarks in the UK, Europe and across the world.
One company who has benefitted from this support is Eco-Depo from Ballynahinch who trademarked their range of recycling systems in a number of international markets. Watch our video of Eco-Depo Managing Director Tom Fairbairn talk about their approach to trademarks.
It can be difficult for a company to come up with an appropriate and distinctive trademark but when one is selected it is very important to check that the name is available and is not already registered by another company.
One quick and easy way to run a basic check on a potential trademark is to do a free trademark search on the Intellectual Property Office website.
Our Technical Advisory Unit also offer a range of advice and guidance on intellectual property (IP) issues and recently held an IP for Digital Businesses event for companies needing to learn more about this subject.
If you would like to learn more about IP including how to recognise and protect IP within your business there is a masterclass from the 17-19 November in Bangor.