Frequently Asked Questions about Intellectual Property (IP)

What may be registered as a trade mark?
In the United Kingdom, registration may be obtained for a trade mark that is a sign that is capable of being represented graphically, that is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings, and does not fall within an excluded category.

What is the difference between the symbol ® and the symbol TM?
The symbol ® indicates that a trade mark is registered. In the United Kingdom, it is an offence to falsely indicate that a trade mark is registered. Thus, the symbol TM may be used to indicate that a sign is being used as a trade mark.

What may be registered as a design?
In the United Kingdom, registration may be obtained for a design that is the appearance of the whole or a part of a product and that is new and has individual character.

What may be granted a patent?


In the United Kingdom, a patent may be granted for an invention that is new, involves an inventive step, is capable of industrial application and does not fall into an excluded category.

When will I be able to enforce my IP rights?
IP rights are enforceable when they are legally obtained. However, it may be appropriate to notify a third party that you have an application pending.

Where will I be able to enforce my IP rights?
IP rights are enforceable in respect of the territory for which they are legally obtained. Thus, it may be appropriate to extend the scope of protection outside of the United Kingdom.

Want further information?
Contact us or visit www.ipo.gov.uk