As trademark registration is a legal process, there are several legal terms, either formal or informal, with which the applicant should be familiar.
1. Badge of origin: the function of a trademark. It indicates the identity of a person or business as the source of goods or services.
2. Bare License: Occasionally a trademark owner allows another person or Organization, through a license, to use the trademark, but fails to maintain effective supervision and quality control of the licensee's products or services. The original owner may or may not suffer some decrease in legal rights regarding the trademark, depending on circumstances. This situation is termed "naked licensing" in the United States.
3. Distinctiveness: also termed "Acquired Distinctiveness." This status is attained through the use of the mark, normally for a considerable period of time. Evidence of use, such as sales receipts, sales figures and reports, and advertising or marketing budgets, are useful evidence.
4. Exclusions: Many countries do not permit certain symbols or terms to undergo the Trademark Registration process. National flags, the insignia of royal families and the Olympic Games rings are all excluded.
5. Infringement: the unauthorized use of a trademark. Note that to prevent infringement, the trademark must be registered, or the trademark must have been used for a long enough time so that it has acquired distinctiveness.
6. Passing Off: Regarding an unregistered trademark, this is a situation in which one person's or business's goods or services are manufactured or presented resulting in confusion with another person's or business's goods or services. Typically, one unregistered trademark is very similar to another registered or unregistered trademark. To successfully benefit from passing off, a person must be able to prove that the trademark belongs to them. More, they must have established some sort of reputation through use of the mark. Finally, the individual must be able to show he or she has somehow been harmed by another's use of the mark. Proving a passing off action can be difficult and expensive. Registering the trademark is an easy way to protect against another's unauthorized use of your trademark.
7. Prior Rights: certain legal rights acquired through use of an unregistered trademark for a long enough time that it has attained local uniqueness.
8. Trademark: a specific sign used by an individual or business to distinguish the products or services provided by that individual or business from those of other people or organizations. A trademark may be traditional, such as a word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, some sort of image or a combination of these. There are also non-traditional trademarks, such as colours, sounds, and even smells. Trademarks are considered as property.
9. Trademark Classes: classification of goods and services into specific classes. Numbers 1 to 34 include goods/products, while Numbers 35 to 45 include services. This classification arose out of the International (Nice) Classification of goods and services. The purpose was twofold: to decide exactly which goods and services are able to be registered under trademarks and two, to attempt to unify various national classification systems.
For clarification of any of these terms, or guidance in the process of Trademark Registration, interested parties should contact the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).