How Long Does a Trademark Last UK?

How Long Does a Trademark Last UK
How Long Does a Trademark Last UK

A trade mark is a mark that distinguishes one company’s goods or services from those of other companies. It is a legal designation to ensure customers know the source of goods and services, and it can be immensely valuable for businesses. In fact, trademarks can help a company develop a brand identity and create customer loyalty. Unfortunately, many companies do not have registered trademarks and are missing out on these benefits.

This article will discuss how long a trademark lasts in the UK, what happens after registration of an unregistered trademark, best practices for keeping your trademark valid, and alternatives to trademarking. It also touches upon challenges of having an unregistered trademark.

Overview of trademark law in the UK

Trademark law in the UK is governed by the Trademarks Act 1994. This legislation implements European Union directives to create a uniform framework for trademark registration across the EU.

When registering a trademark, you must prove that it is distinctive and not similar to other registered trademarks. You must also provide details of your goods or services and why you consider your mark to be distinctive. The registration process can be time-consuming, so it’s best to seek professional legal advice if you plan to register a trademark.

In countries signed up to the Berne Convention, copyright protection is automatic. However, trademark protection must be registered in each country. To do this, you must submit evidence of ownership of the mark and pay an application fee and a renewal fee every few years. The registration process involves filling out several forms and submitting extensive documentation.

Trademark protection is distinct from copyright protection in four key ways:

  1. Trade mark registration lasts indefinitely whereas copyright registration has a fixed period;
  2. Trade mark registration can last up to 10 years whereas copyright registration lasts between 70 years and 100 years depending on the country;
  3. Trade mark registration is limited to one mark per applicant, whereas copyright registration allows multiple uses of the same work without paying additional fees;
  4. Trade mark infringement liability exists only for registered trademarks, whereas copyright infringement liability extends to both registered and unregistered intellectual property as well as parody or satire based on intellectual property (for example, fan fiction).

How Long Does a Trademark Last UK?

Registering a trade mark in the UK is a complex process and requires you to comply with all of the relevant trademark laws. It can take anywhere between 3-6 months, depending on if there are any objections. Once registered, the mark will be valid for 10 years, after which it may need to be renewed in order to protect it forever. The renewal fee starts at £200 and must be paid by the expiry date, otherwise you’ll have to pay an increased fee during the Grace Period. A trademark registration provides protection for your brand for 10 years and can be renewed every 10 years for as long as it remains in use.

What happens after registration of the trademark?

After filing a trademark registration, the protection lasts for a period of 10 years from the date of filing. It begins from the date when your mark is first filing an application for registration with the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).

In case you have registered your trademark before, you must follow a certain process to renew or validate it. A notification will be sent to the address of the owner as stated on the register or to a representative who filed the application. You must fill out an online form or TM3 form and submit it to the UK Intellectual Property Office. The applicant must enter some information about the mark they want to claim for, including design details, classification, and examination type.

When should you be filing for trademark renewal in the UK?

A trademark registration in the UK needs to be renewed every ten years. However, there are strict guidelines for renewal of a trademark registration. The cost of renewal depends on the class of business and the number of classes.

The registration process is complex and includes different steps which need time to complete without any errors. For example, one-class business pays a fee of £200 for renewal and £50 for each additional class. Other processes include filing an application, paying the fee, and submitting supporting documents. It may take 3-4 months if there are no objections.

However, it is important to note that the registered mark cannot be used indefinitely. Therefore, it is necessary to renew a trademark registration as soon as possible before it expires.

What are the different types of trademarks and their duration?

A trademark is a symbol, word, or combination of words used to represent a business entity, product, or services. Trademarks are generally created through consistent use by a business and can be formally registered with the UKIPO. A trademark can be an intellectual property that protects a company’s name and logo, giving it legal protection from other businesses using similar marks. Intellectual property like trademarks and patents provide long-term legal protection for businesses, giving them legal recourse in the event of unauthorized use of their mark.

Another type of intellectual property is a patent. Patents are primarily used to protect brand new inventions, such as parts or upgrades created by manufacturers. They offer legal protection against others copying or making similar products or services based on the patented idea. Both trademarks and patents provide valuable legal protection for businesses.

What Can Affect the Duration of a UK Trademark?

If a mark is not registered with the UKIPO within 10 years of registration, it loses legal protection. Similar rules apply in other countries, such as Canada and India. Patents provide legal protection for inventions for 20 years from the date of filing an application with the relevant government authority.

However, intellectual property law involves uncertainty and risk, so trademark rights are often shorter than those of patents or copyright protection. Furthermore, grace periods for renewal of registered trademarks are rare but can sometimes be granted by the UKIPO in limited circumstances; a higher fee may be charged for these extensions.

How to Protect Your UK Trademark

Trademarks (TM) are powerful tools for businesses to create and maintain a unique brand identity. They are used to distinguish a business from others in the market and help consumers identify products or services with a particular logo or name. Trademarks can be registered with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to provide legal protection from competitors using similar marks.

The steps to register a trade mark with the IPO include completing an application form, filing supporting documents, and paying an registration fee. Businesses should also monitor for similar trademarks to ensure the most complete protection. It is important to take action against competitors who cause confusion with the same or a similar brand. This will help prevent potential trademark infringement lawsuits in courts.

How to Qualify for Trademark Protection in the UK

You can secure copyright protection automatically in all countries signed up to the Berne Convention, but different countries have different levels of legal protection and enforcement. Before filing a trademark application in the UK, it is crucial to review trademark guidelines and requirements to ensure you meet all necessary standards. Trademarks are valuable intellectual property that can help protect your brand, product, or service from being copied by others. Ideally, you should seek trademark protection as soon as possible after launching your product or service. This will give you time to consider trademarks and register them globally if desired.

Ideally, you should seek trademark protection as soon as possible after launching your product or service. This will give you time to consider trademarks and register them globally if desired. Depending on the type of mark you intend to register, it may be necessary to complete various steps, such as filing an application with the relevant government authority and applying for a trademark registration certificate from the relevant intellectual property office. You may also be required to provide additional documentation or substantiate your claim with evidence.

Finally, it’s important to keep your trade mark rights active by filing annual extensions of trademark registrations or updating existing registrations when necessary. Doing so will help prevent third parties from using your registered mark without permission and avoid potential legal disputes over ownership of the mark.

Exceptions to the “Use” Requirement

As mentioned earlier, a trade mark must be actively used in order to remain valid. This means that it must be used on products or services to identify the source of the goods or services and distinguish them from others.

However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule. In some cases, a trade mark may be considered “incontestable” even if it is not currently being used. This usually applies to marks that have been in continuous use for five years or more without any challenges from third parties. It can also apply to marks that were once in use but are no longer being used due to circumstances beyond the owner’s control, such as when a product line is discontinued.

Another exception applies to so-called “defensive trademarks.” These are marks that have been registered by companies even though they are not currently using them. The rationale behind this is that the company may want to prevent others from registering and using a similar mark in the future. As long as the company can show that it has a legitimate intention to use the mark in the future, it will be allowed to keep its registration even if it is not currently using the mark.

Another ground for non-use is that the mark has become genericised, which refers to a mark being used as a synonym for a product or service. In this case, claimants may also provide evidence of negative consumer perceptions regarding their mark.

If you have questions about maintaining your trademark, it is recommended to seek legal advice. It will help you determine if your trademark is still viable and under what terms and conditions it can be applied.

What is the process for registering a trademark in the UK?

There is no legal requirement to register a trademark in the UK, but registering it will give you greater protection against infringement. To register a trademark, you need to file an application with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

The application process can be complex and time-consuming, so it’s important to get professional help if you’re not familiar with intellectual property law. Once your application is filed, IPO will carry out searches of existing trademarks to make sure there are no conflicting marks. If everything goes smoothly, your registration should be granted within six months.

The process for trademark registration varies depending on the type of mark you are filing. For example, trademarks with distinctive words or phrases must be registered as descriptives rather than as trademarks. You must also consider the class of your mark. This determines where it will be legally recognised.

As part of the registration process, you’ll need to submit a filing fee and other documentation to substantiate your mark’s distinctiveness and ownership. Trademark registration can take up to 6 months and must be renewed every 10 years.

Best practices for keeping your trademark valid

  • Ensure that your trademark is renewed every 10 years as this is a legal requirement.
  • Appoint a representative to handle the renewal process with the local patent and trademark office. This will ensure that all the necessary documents are handled in a timely manner and without any hiccups.
  • Ensure that the trademark filing fee is paid on time. This will help prevent any legal issues regarding trademark filing fees during the renewal process.
  • Make sure that you submit all required intellectual property office documents on time. This will help keep your mark on the radar of these bodies for longer periods.
  • Finally, register your trademark to protect your intellectual property. This will help build a stronger legal case for trademark infringement claims by third parties.

What are the alternatives to a trademark?

A trade mark is a recognisable sign used to identify a particular product or service as being from a particular source. Trademarks are an important part of intellectual property protection, as they provide legal protection to the owner of the mark and their associated rights.

You may have heard of copyright, but it could be helpful to think of trademarks as similar legal protections that help establish and protect the distinctiveness of a product or service. Both trade mark and copyright are forms of intellectual property protection. They’re automatically assigned to a creator and their work when it is created.

Copyrights are an alternative to trademarks which are automatically assigned to a creator and their work when it is created. They provide legal protection for the intellectual property that is created by the author, such as the right to copy, publish, and distribute the work.

Both trademarks and copyrights serve different purposes, but they both provide legal protection for intellectual property. The two legal protections are similar in many ways, but there are some differences worth noting.

Challenges of having an unregistered trademark

Without a registered trade mark, businesses cannot stop other companies from using similar branding or from producing goods and services with a similar name. This leaves them vulnerable to legal challenges and can lead to costly infringement lawsuits. Additionally, businesses without a registered trademark cannot enforce their trademarks in court, making it difficult to profit from the brand.

In many countries, businesses without trademark protection are unable to distinguish themselves from competitors and may miss out on the opportunity to apply for trademark protection in other jurisdictions. Additionally, businesses without a registered trade mark cannot limit trademark infringement liability, which can put them at significant financial risk.

Therefore, businesses should consider registering a trademark as soon as possible to protect their intellectual property and ensure legal rights are protected.

Get Professional Help with Your UK Trademark

As a business owner, it’s important to understand the trademark process in the UK. When registering a trade mark, you’ll need to provide detailed information about the trademark and its use. This includes the type of intellectual property, any legal names or symbols associated with the mark, any distinctive features of the mark and other information relevant to your trademark application.

If you’re familiar with this process, you can get professional advice regarding trademarks. Using online services is another way to register trademarks in the UK. The benefits of using an online service include fast and easy registration, convenient filing and tracking of your trademark application and accessibility to a large user base. However, you must familiarise yourself with the different types of intellectual property before filing a trademark application.

Understanding copyright vs trademark can also help you make an informed decision when filing for intellectual property protection for your brand or logo. Consider international intellectual property protection if you want additional protection for your intellectual property.

Trademark Takeaways

A trade mark is a unique badge or identifier that helps a business promote their product or brand. Trademarks can be words, logos, or slogans and are designed by companies to be easily recognisable.

A trade mark must be renewed every 10 years to ensure it is still protected. In order to renew a trademark, the owner must submit an application with the relevant government agency. The application requires information about the trademark’s history and why it is being renewed. Examples of well-known trademarks include McDonald’s, Google, and Nike.

When a trade mark is registered, it becomes part of legal record and visible globally. This helps protect the company’s identity and branding from other businesses using similar trademarks. A trade mark registration also gives owners legal protection against others using their mark without consent and in some cases allows them to seek damages and legal fees in court if their mark is used without authorization.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a dead trademark UK?

A dead trademark in the UK is one that has not been renewed and therefore has lost protection in the UK.

What happens if I don’t register my brand and someone else registers it first?

If you don’t register your brand as a trade mark, then you may not have much legal protection against third-party use. If someone else registers your brand as a trademark, then you will have to take legal action in order to stop them from using it.

Unregistered trademarks may be protected through use of the brand over time, but this is uncertain and the burden of proof is heavier than if you were to register it. Without registration, you will have virtually no protection legally to prevent others from using your brand.

In addition, territorial trade mark protection means that applications must be filed in each country or territory of interest in order for the mark to receive full protection. This is why registering your brand with a trademark office should always be taken seriously and done as soon as possible.


As you can see, trade mark law is a very complex matter, and this is especially true in the UK. There are many factors that play a role in the validity of a trademark registration, so it’s vital that you have an experienced intellectual property attorney to help guide you through the process of trademark registration and renewal. Get a free consultation with an IP consultant today and let us begin helping you protect your brand identity!

Written by Ellis Sweetenham – Senior Intellectual Property Law Consultant

After achieving a First Class LLB Law degree from Southampton Solent University in 2016, Ellis went on to complete an LPC LLM in Legal Practice in 2017 at the University of Law. Following her training, Ellis was admitted to the roll as a Solicitor in February 2019.

As part of her role as a Senior Intellectual Property Law Consultant, Ellis manages the team, and is there to advise all clients on any area of trade mark law. Ellis prides herself on her ability to act within her clients’ best interests at all times, pushing forward to assist them in ensuring their brand is fully protected. In addition to assisting Trademarkroom clients in protecting their brand, Ellis will also be on hand as part of her role as a Solicitor at sister company Lawdit Solicitors to assist with any contentious matters that may arise.

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