What is the process for a UK trade mark application?

What is the process for a UK trade mark application?


All UK trade mark applications go through the same process, whether you are a start-up or large PLC.


Once we receive your instructions, we can prepare the application for you. When that is approved, the application is filed to the registry who have the following process to follow:


  1. The first thing the registry will check is its bank account – they will check that the correct fee has been paid to them.
  2. Next, they examine the application on “absolute grounds”. This means they assess whether the mark
  • is distinctive;
  • describes a characteristic of the goods/services in any way;
  • are terms customary in the industry;
  • would be deceptive or immoral;

There are many other ways the registry may refuse the mark: too many to list here!

  1. If the registry does object to they will write to us stating the nature of the objection, with a 2-month deadline to respond. Generally we can find a way to overcome an objection, and would probably have advised you that it may be an issue prior to filing the application.

It is important to remember at this stage that trade mark examiners are human beings – they are therefore unpredictable but generally reasonable. Having filed so many trade mark applications over the years, we are on first-name terms with many of them.

  1. Once this stage is overcome, application will be published in the trade mark journal, which has a new edition every Friday. There is a 2-month window for third parties to oppose the opposition- a window that third parties can apply to extend by a further month.

If a third party objects to the application, they will probably apply to oppose the mark and pay the required fee. This creates a dispute process which can take several months, even years to resolve.

  1. Assuming the application is not opposed, the opposition period will pass without any further correspondence from the trade mark registry. We will receive the certificate within about 3-4 weeks, and forward it on to you once we have checked that the details are correct.
  2. The trade mark lasts for 10 years from the date of application.


At Trade Mark Associates, we understand that our clients want every application to proceed to registration without objections, oppositions, and further litigation. Our checks, searches and opinions prior to filing an application give your application the best possible chance of success.


To find out how we can help you further, get in touch here.