How do I register intellectual property in the UK?

Unsure whether you should (or even can) register your valuable intellectual property (IP) in the UK?

Fortunately, here at Trademark Eagle, our experienced team knows exactly what it takes to protect your intellectual property.

From identifying the type of intellectual property registry you’ll need to protect your work, to providing you with crucial information regarding any competing trade marks or applications, we help you to understand, obtain, and act to protect your IP rights.

Does intellectual property need to be registered?

While there are five key types of intellectual property (patents, trade marks, trade secrets, copyrights, and registered designs), just three of these types actually require the owner to register the work.

Intellectual property that needs to be registered in the UK includes trade marks, registered designs, and patents.

How to register intellectual property in the UK

To help simplify the process of protecting your IP and obtaining ownership rights, we’ve explained the basic registration process for each type of relevant intellectual property in more detail below. Not everything can be protected and therefore taking expert advice is essential as many applications are filed each year, only to be rejected by the Registry.

These step-by-step guides are ideal for increasing your awareness of the process, but if you’re unsure about any of these steps, please don’t hesitate to contact our expert team today.

Registering trade marks

Do your research

Before you prepare your application, you should check for any existing or similar registered trade marks, and identify which general category (class) and specific type of goods or services (term) that you plan to use your trade mark on. You also need to check whether your trademark can be protected under the current legal provision and marks that include descriptive terms, geographical locations or are inherently non-distinctive need special consideration to ensure you are not filing a mark that will be rejected.

It’s recommended that you obtain legal guidance at this point from an attorney before you begin your trade mark application.

Prepare your application

When preparing your application, you’ll require all the relevant trade mark details, such as the slogan or illustration, as well as the details of either the individual or company that wants to become the owner of the trade mark.

You should also bear in mind that there will be a fee depending on the type of application as well as the number of trade mark classes selected.

File your application

You can apply both online and via post for a trade mark with the IPO (Intellectual Property Office). There are various application you can make including the Right Start application (allows you to check that your application meets registration rules before paying the full fee), as well as a Series application for a number of variations of a trademark, and the Standard application.

Fees vary depending on which application you make.

After applying

Upon examining your application, the IPO will send you an examination report two to three weeks later.

If there are any issues with your application, you will have two months to fix them.

If these identified issues are resolved within the time limit or there are no further problems with your application, the trade mark will be registered around 10 weeks post-publication, so long as it hasn’t been opposed.

Registering designs

Do your research

Before beginning your application, you’ll need to check relevant design registers (such as UK-registered designs) to ensure your design hasn’t already been registered. Reaching out to a trade mark or patent attorney is also recommended at this stage. Designs are to protect the non-functional part of a product and cover figurative elements or ornamentation as examples – not everything can be protected.

Prepare your application

When preparing your application, there are certain rules that you must follow. However, the key is to create detailed illustrations of your design that show more than just one view of your design (such as side views as well as front and back view).

You can prepare 12 illustrations if applying online, but more than 12 if you apply via post. You can use photographs, line drawings, as well as CAD (computer-aided design) and rendered CAD to create these illustrations.

File your application

You can file your application both online and via post. Please bear in mind that filing fees vary depending on how you apply as well as the number of designs you’re registering.

After applying

Once you’ve applied, the IPO will examine your application and, following no issues, the design will be registered typically within three weeks. If there is an issue with your application, you’ll be allowed at least two months to rectify the problem.

Registering patents

Do your research

Prior to applying for a patent in the UK, it’s crucial that you have conducted thorough research into whether the product you want to patent (or a similar version) already exists. You should also ensure that you have suitable time, funds, and legal guidance from a patent attorney if you want support with the application process. A product must not be in the public domain before and application to protect it is filed.

A proper patent attorney can significantly increase your chances of being granted a patent as they can guide you through the process and help you with your application.

Prepare your application

There are set rules dictating how the application should look and what it should include, such as a description of the invention (how it works and could be manufactured), and a summery of the invention’s technical aspects. Illustrations can also be included in this application to help explain how the product works.

File your application

Once your application is ready, you will need to file it online with the IPO. A filing fee will need to paid to start the process, but you can also make a request to pay for your ‘search’ when filing your initial application to help speed up the process.

After applying

Following a successful application, you will often be patent-pending for years before the patent is actually granted. To increase your chances of obtaining a patent in the UK, it pays to seek the advice of an attorney before you begin your application.

Explore intellectual property services at Trademark Eagle

Seeking the appropriate intellectual property protection is essential to supporting the continued success of your business.

At Trademark Eagle, our experienced team can help you with trade mark registration and protection, copyright issues, and the registration and enforcement of designs.

Our global range of professional Intellectual Property Services also includes providing our clients with cease and desist support as well as advice regarding IP rights infringement and protection (including online and social media).

To learn more about intellectual property and how the experienced team at Trademark Eagle can help, please feel free to get in touch today by calling 0122 3208 624.

Rest assured, all initial consultations are free.

You can also get in touch by sending your enquiry via email to, using our live chat feature, or filling out and submitting our online contact form.

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