It can be easier to protect your trade mark if it’s registered. Registering a trade mark means that no one else can use it, even if they claim to have come up with the same mark independently.
If a third party uses your registered trade mark, you can make a legal claim against them for trade mark infringement. If your claim is successful, you may be awarded damages (compensation); a legal order restraining the third party who used your trade mark from doing so again; and/or other remedies.
Both individuals and businesses can register trade marks. The entity registering the trade mark will be the one who owns the mark’s intellectual property rights. This means that:
if a trade mark is registered under a business name, it becomes a valuable business asset which can be licensed or assigned to other entities
if a trade mark is registered by an individual, the intellectual property rights remain with this individual and cannot be seized as part of the company’s assets
Both UK and EU registered trade marks last for 10 years, but they can be renewed indefinitely for further 10 year periods.
For more information, read How to register a trade mark and Registering a trade mark in the EU.
Ownership of a trade mark can be transferred at any time during the application process or after registration. You can also give another party a licence to use a trade mark that you own.