A trade mark is a sign or symbol that is used to distinguish one product from similar products from other companies. It may be the design of a label, the shape of a product’s packaging, logos, slogans, words, colours or 3-D shapes associated with a product. Examples of registered trade marks include ‘HeartStart’ for a cardiac defibrillator and ‘Nurofen’ for a painkiller.
Registering a trade mark protects the owner from competitors trying to use the same sign or symbol to promote their similar product.
Trade marks are classified into designated fields of use and so the same trade mark may be used for different products or services, for example Lotus is a brand of shoes as well as a car manufacturer.
The ® symbol indicates a trade mark has been registered.
The HSC Innovations team can provide advice on trade marks, search databases of existing trade marks, file trade mark applications and provide general support for trade mark registrations.
The UK Intellectual Property Office website offers guidance on trade marks, including a useful quick facts booklet.