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Mistakes to Avoid When Registering a Pharmaceutical Trade Mark

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Are you considering registering a trade mark for your pharmaceutical goods or services in the UK? By avoiding mistakes in your application, you will save yourself from lodging amended applications, time and money. This article will unpack common mistakes to avoid when registering a trade mark for your pharmaceutical business.

Avoid Choosing an Already Registered Trade Mark

Sometimes, businesses attempt to register trade marks that are either identical or similar to one already registered with the Intellectual Property Office. Within the pharmaceutical industry, in particular, there could be a lot of visual or conceptual overlap in names, logos, or slogans. To avoid an unfortunate surprise, it is worthwhile to carry out a search of the trade mark database online.

You can search for words, phrases, or images you want to register. A trade mark registration entitles the owner of the trade mark to stop other businesses or individuals from using that mark. Therefore, it is vital that you choose something unique.

Avoid Choosing a Generic or Descriptive Trade Mark

Not everything is capable of being registered as a trade mark. In particular, you cannot trade mark a word or phrase that is:

  • generic and lacks distinctive character; or 
  • descriptive of the goods or services it relates to. 

For example, it is unlikely you cannot register the word ‘Pharmaceutical’ as a trade mark for a pharmaceutical business. Equally, you cannot register anything that is misleading, such as a product that is ‘cruelty-free’ when it is not. 

There are also other types of things that your trade mark cannot include, such as:

  • offensive language or images; or
  • protected symbols or flags.

If you try to include prohibited elements in your trade mark application, the Intellectual Property Office will likely reject it. This may lead to further costs when submitting a new application. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid these mistakes from the outset. 

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Pick the Correct Trade Mark Class

Trade mark classes are different categories of goods and services. There are 45 classes in total to choose from. When you apply to register your trade mark, you must select a class or classes that you wish to register your trade mark within, along with a specific list of goods and services within each class. You should avoid cutting corners and only selecting the bare minimum, particularly if you can see that other classes are relevant to your pharmaceutical business. 

If you do not register your trade mark in a certain class, it will remain unprotected in that area. You will only receive protection in the classes and goods or services you select. While registering in multiple classes is slightly more costly, it ensures your trade mark receives greater protection against competitors.

Further, you might wish to protect your trade mark internationally or in the European Union. In that case, you might need to file separately in those jurisdictions.

Avoid Registering a Trade Mark That Cannot Grow With Your Business

A trade mark registration provides your business with an exclusive right that lasts for 10 years and requires renewal by your business. So, whatever logo, slogan or wording you choose to register should reflect your business for at least 10 years. 

Businesses worldwide use trade marks as a mark of their brand. They are a critical branding tool when targeting particular consumers. Consequently, avoid registering a trade mark that could potentially misrepresent your pharmaceutical business in 10 years. Overall, your trade mark should assist your business growth, not work against it.

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Trade Mark Essentials

LegalVision’s Trade Mark Essentials Guide provides valuable information for any business looking to register or enforce a trade mark.

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Key Takeaways

It is easy to make mistakes when completing an application to register a trade mark with the Intellectual Property Office. You should avoid choosing a trade mark that is identical or similar to an existing trade mark on the UK trade marks register. To avoid this, consider searching the online database as a first step. You should also avoid attempting to register something too generic or descriptive of your goods or services, as this will likely result in a refusal.

Further, pay attention to the classes you are seeking to register your trade mark in. You also want to choose a registered trade mark that can grow with your business and your brand.

If you need help registering a trade mark for your pharmaceutical business, our experienced intellectual property lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0808 196 8584 or visit our membership page.

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Praku Sunuwar

Praku is a Legal Coordinator Team Lead in LegalVision’s Manchester office and is the first point of contact for clients looking for commercial legal assistance. She prides herself on her excellent communication skills. 

Qualifications: Bachelor of Laws, University of Manchester.

Read all articles by Praku

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