How to Trademark a Business Name in the UK: Ultimate Guide 2023

how to trademark a name
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So, are you curious about how to trademark a business name in the United Kingdom? The most efficient strategy to protect your business is to register a trademark. Many entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that registering as a sole trader, registering a domain name, or registering your business with Companies House protects your brand. In truth, knowing how to trademark your business name is a separate step that is just as significant as the others. 

In this article, we will teach you how to trademark a business name, the advantages of trademarking your business name, how to check if your name is trademarked and the cost of trademarking a business name.

What Exactly Is a Trademark?

Trademarks are origin identifiers that can take many forms, including words, slogans, logos, shapes, colours, and sounds, and are used to differentiate one vendor’s goods or services from those of another. It also protects you legally against anyone misrepresenting your brand or using it without your permission, as well as from competitors using a name that is the same or similar to yours. You can obtain some trademark protection merely by incorporating a logo and slogan in your business name, but registering your mark with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) provides the best protection.

If you are confused or finding it difficult to trademark a business name, the following steps will show you how to get it done

Choosing a business name is a challenging undertaking, especially when deciding whether or not to trademark it. When deciding on a business name or designing a logo, look for other trademarks that are comparable to your ideas. This assists you in determining whether any existing trademarks may confuse customers or other firms. At the same time, make sure your name isn’t too broad.

#2. Apply for Registration With the IPO

To apply for the registration of a business name or logo at the IPO, first set up an online account. After you’ve created your account, begin filling out the form. Each part requests information about your company’s name, logo, and other specifics. Once you’ve filled out all of the essential fields on the form, click ‘Submit’ to send it to the IPO for evaluation. If the agency requires additional information or if there are any problems with your submission, they will contact you.

#3. Wait for a Response From the IPO to Your Application

Be patient after filing your business name or logo registration application since the IPO will decide if your name is trademarked. They may want you to change your name or logo before registering your application if they insist. If your application needs any extra activity or the IPO has concerns, it will tell you within 12 weeks.

Before making any products with your name or logo, wait until the IPO reviews your application. This protects you from legal action and saves you money on advertising if your first application fails.

#4. Wait for the IPO to Provide You With a Registration Certificate

Before you can use a trademarked business name or emblem, you must first obtain a formal certificate of registration from the IPO. This is because trademarks are legally enforceable and are used to prohibit competing organisations from utilising identical names or emblems in their advertising campaigns. Businesses require this certificate so that they can confidently utilise their trademark to prevent others from infringing on their activity. You won’t be able to establish that you possess the rights to your name or logo without it, which could harm your brand’s reputation.

#5. Create a Limited Firm

Registered limited companies are recommended for trademarking business names and logos. Only a registration certificate allows this. Registration as a limited corporation protects your brand and simplifies future business dealings.

Visit Companies House, the federal website for company registrations. Click Register a Firm,’ then Start a New Company’. Complete all form fields. Name, address, email, phone number, and firm name are usually required. Directors and stockholders must be listed. Click submit at the bottom when finished. You can print your incorporation certificate from Companies House online.

#6. Apply for a Trademark on the Name or Logo of Your Business

Applying for a trademark on the name and logo of your firm allows you to protect your brand identification. This enables you to start establishing a reputation for your business, which draws customers. It also ensures that no other firms use your name or logo, which could lead to consumer and potential client confusion. If you have the necessary information, applying for a trademark is a rather simple process. You can register for a trademark on your company’s name or logo in two ways:

  • Using a web-based application

If you recently founded a limited company, register a trademark application for its name and/or logo. Find out how to trademark your company’s name or logo on the government’s website. Click ‘ Register a Trademark’ and fill out the form. Before selecting ‘Register Now,’ check the ‘Application Checklist’ for accuracy. Fill out the boxes and click “Next Step.” This lets you verify your application before submitting it.

  • A paper application form

A paper application form can also be used to apply for a trademark on your company’s name or logo. To do so, you must complete an application form and pay a charge. The application form is available on the IPO website. This is also where you will discover information regarding the application fees. Someone with the authority to bind your organisation, such as the director, must sign the form after it has been filled out. You then mail it to the IPO, together with any supporting documentation.

How Much Does It Cost in the UK to Trademark a Business Name?

It costs £170 to register a trade mark online and £200 to register a trade mark by post in the UK for one class of products and services alone. Each extra class costs £50; therefore, the greater the number of classes covered, the higher the filing fee. Along with your application and payment, you must provide a fee sheet. Forms and fees for trademarks can be found here.

If you wish to ensure that your application complies with the registration rules, you can use the IPO’s Right Start service. You pay £100 upfront, plus £50 for each additional class. You will then receive a report indicating whether or not your application complies with the rules. If you want to proceed with your application, you must pay the entire price within 28 days after receiving your report. You can also choose to proceed with your application even if it does not match the registration requirements.

The Advantages of Trademark Registration

Once you’ve decided on a business name, you need to be careful to secure it. For example, you should register a trade mark for your company’s name and logo to ensure that no one else uses it in your industry. Having a registered trade mark for your company also prohibits competitors from duplicating it. Allowing other firms to do so may drive clients away from you.

A registered trade mark is a significant asset in and of itself. If you ever decide to sell your company, your trademark will add value to the transaction. A trademark can be registered for specific goods and services in addition to your company’s name and logo. As a result, if your business grows, you should consider registering extra trademarks.

Not All Names Are Eligible for Trademark Protection

If you’re in the doughnut industry, you might have had the brilliant notion of trademarking doughnuts as your name and even attempting to get for yourself. Unfortunately, you won’t have any luck because the law prohibits a firm from using a generic phrase as its exclusive brand. So words like ‘chairs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘computer,’ and so on are banned. Because everyone has the freedom to use these words to describe their products or services, they cannot be trademarked.

As an example, ‘’ claimed they could trademark the name because the dot com suffix removed the genericness of the term. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in the United States denied their application, arguing that adding the suffix makes no difference because the word ‘hotels’ is still recognised.

An intriguing situation is that of ‘Apple Inc.,’ which is permitted to trade under the fruity moniker since it operates in the hardware and software sectors rather than the food industry.

Genericized trademarks

Even if you have legally protected a trademark, it does not necessarily mean that it is forever protected. It is uncommon, however, that certain trademarks that have become generic have lost their legal status. This indicates that the names have evolved into generic words that are used to generalise all similar products. For example, Thermos was a trademarked brand by Thermos GmbH, but it is now used to refer to all vacuum flasks, whether made by Thermos GmbH or not. Here are a few more examples:

  • Aspirin
  • Catseye
  • Escalator
  • The flip phone
  • Sellotape
  • Trampoline
  • Videotape

How Can I Find Out if a Name Is Trademarked?

The first thing you should do is check to determine if a trademark already exists for your chosen business name. If your chosen name has already been trademarked, you may be unable to register the mark since the current owners are likely to dispute your registration. If you continue to use the trademarked name, you may face trademark infringement charges.

It is simple to look for existing marks in the United Kingdom. A good place to start is the UK Intellectual Property Office search engine, which allows you to search by name, trademark number, or owner. However, it is more difficult than searching for an identical name because you must also be aware of any alternate spellings and modifications. Asking a trademark solicitor to undertake a conflict check on your behalf is worthwhile, and this modest cost can give you peace of mind.

Is My Trademark Registered in Another Country?

If you want to use your trademark outside of the UK, you must apply to the trademark office in each nation. There are additional European and international application systems that encompass numerous nations and provide the following advantages to help with the process:

  • There will be less paperwork.
  • Cheaper
  • Reduce the costs of agents
  • More rapid outcomes
  • Simple implementation

Before applying for an international trademark, you must first have a base application or registration in the United Kingdom. You can also apply for registration in any of the Madrid Protocol nations. To do so, simply apply with the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) International Bureau through the USPTO, but it must be similar to your UK trademark application. 

As of late 2017, the Madrid Union had 100 members, spanning 116 nations, which implies your trademark would be protected in all of them. When it comes to the international system, keep in mind that you can only apply for one mark, as opposed to many marks in the UK.

If the country where you intend to register has a different alphabet, you might consider registering transliterations. Foreign entities may trademark your company’s name written in their alphabet to create a transliteration of your trademark, which they may then trademark themselves. A transliteration database would have prevented this.

What Happens If Someone Uses Your Trademark Name in the United Kingdom?

Generally, you can obtain permission to use someone else’s intellectual property (IP) by purchasing the rights from them or obtaining their permission to do so. Using someone else’s trade mark, patent, copyright, or design without their permission is referred to as “IP infringement,” and it can result in a fine, prison time, or both.

How Long Does a Trademark in the United Kingdom Have a Lifespan?

Every ten years, trademarks must be renewed. A trade mark can be renewed up to 6 months before it expires and up to 6 months after it expires. If your trade mark expired more than 6 months ago, you cannot renew it online.

Can Two Businesses Have the Same Name?

It all depends. If the business name is a registered service mark or trademark, it is illegal for another business to use the same name. To determine whether the business name is a registered service mark or trademark, you must perform a two-part test.

Can I Use a Dead Trademark in the UK?

A trade mark may also be considered dead if it hasn’t been renewed and the period of restoration has expired. Just because a mark is listed as ‘dead’, doesn’t mean that it is available. Someone may be using the mark or accruing goodwill and recognition under the mark, so common law rights may apply.

Can I Use the Same Name as a Registered Trademark?

However, if the two products are not related to one another and are not likely to cause any confusion, then trademark law will not prevent the two companies from using the same name. Put differently, if the same name is registered in different trademark classes, this does not give rise to an infringement claim.


Registering a trade mark gives you protection for arguably your most valuable asset: your brand. Clearance searches are highly recommended to avoid hiccups with potential earlier rights holders both during the application process and once the mark is registered. There are numerous options for registering your company name and protecting it. 

Whether you choose to register locally under a DBA, register for a state trademark, or apply for federal trademark registration, you must understand the process, where to send applications, and how to conduct proper research. If you are unsure which path to take, consulting an attorney can be a good place to start before diving into business. Alternatively, several companies will assist you in registering a domain name or trademark for a set fee.


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