Friday, November 27, 2009

Ben “SYMBOLS” – Looking into trademarks and design rights

“DAY 2” – Looking into trademarks and design rights

I followed up on the EMI music rights for the galvanize track. I was told in an email that EMI music rights do not hold the copyright but UNIVERSAL music rights do. The wild goose chase begins. Hopefully I will get the golden egg at the end of all this!

The majority of my time today was involved with researching the use of trademarks and design rights on the Intellectual Property Office website available at

It appears that trademarks are distinctive symbols for goods and services. It is recognisable as a sign that differentiates goods or service as different from another company’s. I think is important to know they are not registrable if they:
• describe goods or services or any characteristics of them, for example, marks which show the quality, quantity, purpose, value or geographical origin of goods or services
• have become customary in the line of trade
• are not distinctive
• are three dimensional shapes - the shape is typical of the goods you are interested in (or part of them), has a function or adds value to the goods
• are specially protected emblems
• are offensive

It costs £200 to register a trademark and this is valid for 10 years.
Check out the ‘spot the trademark game’ if you have some free time at

As an aside, it is interesting to note that the term ‘Hoover’ is now both a noun and trademark used to classify the company that makes vacuum cleaners and also a verb, according to the Cambridge online dictionary ( Nowadays, Hoover has lost the exclusive right to use it solely as a brand name.

This illustrates how we can use a trademark term to say other things for example ‘have you googled him?’ to ask have you searched him on the internet/ to use a search engine. Google is not at all happy about this debranding of their name to describe general actions and has called in the language police. For further information see

Design Rights take two forms. Firstly a registered design gives stronger protection and involves applying to the Intellectual Property Office. Unregistered Design Rights gives weaker but automatic protection without the need to register the design.

A registered design is a legal right which protects the overall visual appearance of a product. To be registrable, a design must:
• be new
• have individual character.
Individual character means that the appearance of the design (known as the overall impression) is different from the appearance of other established designs.
It costs £60 per design right application and this lasts for 5 years and then it will need to be renewed.

I hope this brief summary has proved useful, for further information look at the Intellectual Property Office website available at


Unknown said...

Yes I agree in that circle. The problem I find is that sometimes you might be confused which circle is yours in between so many.So make different and just named logo and not even know it!
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