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February 22, 2024

What is a trade mark?

What is a trade mark?

A trade mark is a brand, a sign or symbol used in relation to goods or services to distinguish them from similar goods or services supplied by others.  When registered, trade marks provide enhanced protection for brands.  Typically a name, a word or combination of words or a logo, trade marks enable people to distinguish between the variety of brands in the marketplace or, in the case of charities, the plethora of charitable causes which they might wish to associate themselves with and donate to.

Typically, a trade mark gives consumers a guarantee of the identity of the origin of products or services by enabling them to distinguish, without any possible confusion, that the product or service is genuine.  For charities, trade marks are also an important way of ensuring that fundraising activities can be directly linked with the charity and that monies raised are for a particular charitable cause.

Your organisation's brand is likely to be capable of trade mark protection in one way or another.  By registering your organisation's brand you are making it easier to stop someone from misleading the public by using your brand.  It might also reduce the chance that they will try.  

By registering a trade mark, it enables the brand-owner to protect it more easily and it can increase the reputation of the brand and other people’s willingness to invest in it, leading to innovation and the development of new products and services which have a social impact.  Protecting a brand as a trade mark also creates a strong right for the purposes of licensing a brand, for example to a distributor, a sub-contractor or a subsidiary or in the context of a collaboration partnership.

Take our two-minute trade mark test to see how well-protected your brand is.