Apply to register a trade mark

2. What you can and can't register

Your trade mark must be unique. It can include:

  • words
  • sounds
  • logos
  • colours
  • a combination of any of these

Your trade mark can’t:

  • be offensive, for example contain swear words or pornographic images
  • describe the goods or services it will relate to, for example the word ‘cotton’ can’t be a trade mark for a cotton textile company
  • be misleading, for example use the word ‘organic’ for goods that aren’t organic
  • be a 3-dimensional shape associated with your trade mark, for example use the shape of an egg for eggs
  • be too common and non-distinctive, for example be a simple statement like ‘we lead the way’
  • look too similar to state symbols like flags or hallmarks, based on World Intellectual Property Organization guidelines

Check if your trade mark is already registered

You must search the trade marks database before you send your application to check if anyone has already registered an identical or similar trade mark for the same or similar goods or services.

You can ask the holder of an existing trade mark for permission to register yours. They must give you a ‘letter of consent’ - you must send this letter with your application.

You can use a trade mark attorney to help you with searches and registrations.