Every business has a brand - this is the name under which they market and promote their product or service. Not to be confused with your company name or domain name, your brand name is what differentiates your goods or services from those of others.
We call these trade marks - a trade mark may be a brand name, logo, colour, shape, smell or taste. A trade mark may be registered or exist at Common Law through use.
A registered trade mark gives the trade mark owner the exclusive right to use that trade mark in relation to the goods and services set out in the registration, and to license other parties to use that trade mark for those goods and services. Any person who uses that trade mark without the authority of the registered owner may infringe the registration and such infringing use may be prohibited by the courts.
Subject to the necessary renewal fees being paid, a trade mark can be kept in force indefinitely. However, if the trade mark is not used for a continuous period of three years then it may be vulnerable to removal from the Register at the action of a third party.
Updated October 2015