Around 4,230 trade marks were filed in 2016 – and that was just within the fintech sector. What’s more intriguing is that these applications seem to be made by companies and individuals across the board – from start-ups to multi-national blue chips.
One of the main reasons cited for this increased number of applications within this sector is due to i) products sold within the sector are easily copied, and ii) managers within the sector are aware that the cost of filing for trade mark protection is inexpensive in comparison to the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pounds, being invested in a company’s products.
It seems to us that this sector in particular has got it right. In brief, without registered trade mark protection for the goods/services your company uses the mark for, and within your main markets, use of that mark may by competitors may considered “fair game”.
Further, as some territories are “first to file” territories, competitors seek to block your future trade mark applications by filing an identical or similar mark in that territory before you. Sometimes, there may be grounds for you to invalidate a mark on the basis of the application being made in “bad faith” in such territories, but the cost and time incurred in doing so can be significant.
As such, we do recommend filing a trade mark application for your brand name and logo (if you use one) in the territories you are most concerned with. Both a word-only application and a logo application will provide the broadest scope of protection in the territory.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Tom Broster at Briffa for further information about the trade mark application process, and advice on international trade mark filing strategy.