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If you have thought up an original range name it automatically belongs to you by common law. However, stopping others using it may be difficult, unless it is registered as a Trademark. Trademarks must be non-descriptive and non-distinctive i.e. you cannot register 'Greeting Card' or 'Pretty Greeting Card'.

Full information about all aspects of applying for Trademarks and Patents can be found on the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) website.

As a small publisher, you may not wish to go to the time and expense of registering your range names as trademarks. However, it is important to ensure that any range names you wish to use do not infringe existing trademarks in the Paper Products category.

Existing Trademarks and applications can be searched for on the IPO website. For greeting cards, searches need to be done under Nice category 16: Paper Products.

If you decide to register a trademark the next stage is to either complete an online form e-TM3 which costs £170 or to download a form, complete it and send it to the Trademarks Registry in Wales where all applications are processed. A paper application costs £200 so it is slightly cheaper to do this online. Further classes can be added, at the same time or later, at £50 per class.

The application then proceeds through a series of examinations to see whether the Registry will accept it. They may correspond with you if they have any queries. Finally, if it passes all these hurdles they will advertise the Trademark for 3 months in the Trademarks Journal. This is called the 'Opposition Period'. If no one presents valid objections within this period, the Trademark is finally passed and belongs to you. You need to renew your rights every 10 years.

The IPO is based in Cardiff
Tel: 0300 300 2000

Intellectual Property Office
Concept House
Cardiff Road
South Wales
NP10 8QQ
United Kingdom

Further Information