Intellectual Property (IP) protection is essential for the success and growth of your brand. As a small business, your trade marks are valuable assets that set you apart from competitors. In this friendly and informative guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to ensure your trade marks remain protected and boost your brand’s recognition and reputation.

1. Understand the Importance of Trade Marks:

Trade marks are more than just symbols; they are the face of your business. By registering your trade marks, you gain exclusive rights to use them for your goods and services, preventing others from copying or imitating your brand identity. This protection establishes trust with your customers and gives you a competitive edge in the marketplace.

2. Conduct Regular Trade Mark Audits:

As your business evolves, so may your product lines or services. It’s crucial to periodically conduct trade mark audits to review and update your portfolio. Ensure your registered trade marks accurately reflect your current offerings and target market. This proactive approach can help avoid potential infringement issues and strengthen your brand’s identity.

3. Monitor for Infringement:

Vigilance is key to preserving your trade mark rights. Regularly monitor the market for potential infringement. Keep an eye on competitor activities, online platforms, and industry publications. If you spot any unauthorised use of your trade marks, take swift action to protect your IP. National Business Register offers watching searches which ensures this is done for you.

4. Enforce Your Trade Mark Rights:

If you encounter infringement, don’t hesitate to enforce your trade mark rights. Reach out to the infringing party to notify them of the violation and request immediate cessation. You may already have an agent of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) that can do this for you. Alternatively, National Business Register and other agents can handle the matter professionally and assert your rights.

5. Renew Your Trade Marks:

Trade mark registrations require periodic renewal to maintain protection. Keep track of the renewal deadlines for each of your trade marks to avoid unintentional lapses in protection. Falling behind on renewals can result in losing your valuable IP rights and will cost you more in the long run.

6. Update Your Trade Mark Records:

As your business grows, your trade mark portfolio may expand. Be diligent in updating your records with any new trade mark registrations. Organise your documents and maintain accurate records to streamline the management of your IP assets. If you were selling coffee and then begin to sell coffee mugs you would need to apply for your trade mark to be registered in an additional classification.
If you update your logo that you have trade marked, ensure that you register your new logo as a trade mark.

7. Seek Professional Advice:

Navigating the world of Intellectual Property can be complex, especially for small businesses. Engage the services of a specialist who can guide you through the process, provide expert advice, and help protect your IP rights effectively. It may be that you have a logo that cannot be protected by way of a trade mark but that it could be protected by registering it as a Design Mark.

8. Expand Your Trade Marks Globally:

If you plan to expand your business internationally, consider registering your trade marks in other countries. International protection enhances your brand’s visibility and safeguards your reputation in global markets.

9. Educate Your Team:

Ensure that your team understands the importance of trade marks and their role in protecting the brand’s identity. Educate them about proper usage guidelines and the significance of respecting the IP of others.


By regularly auditing, monitoring, and updating your trade mark portfolio, you’re taking proactive steps to protect your valuable intellectual property. Remember, seeking professional advice and staying vigilant are vital components of maintaining your trade marks successfully. Embrace these practices, and your trade marks will become powerful assets that contribute to your business’s long-term success and growth. Best of luck on your trademark journey!

If you would like to discuss the Intellectual Property within your business, please email us at or book in with our Head of IP, Mitch Willmott, on for a free consultation.

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