Brand and Trade Mark Protection for Independent schools
Your school's principal trade marks are likely to be its name and crest. The misuse of these valuable trade marks by others could jeopardise your school's reputation, both within the UK and internationally. The registration of your school's name and crest as trade marks is an important step in deterring and preventing misuse. We can help you to register, protect and enforce your trademarks in the UK and internationally.
School Trade Mark Registration and Protection
There are many reasons why schools protect their trade marks including:
- A trade mark registration will enable a school to protect your valuable reputation and stop a third party from using a similar trade mark in connection with education and related services.
- Although unregistered trade mark rights will arise through the use of a trade mark, enforcing those unregistered rights against an infringing party (under the law of passing off) is complicated, limited in scope and often expensive. The cost of a pre-emptive trade mark registration is likely to be significantly less than the legal costs and management time that can accrue in trying to protect a school's reputation from damage when an unregistered trade mark is abused.
- Charity trustees are under a duty to protect the assets and reputation of the charity. This includes trade marks (such as the school name and crest), particularly as these are open to abuse by third parties. In the same way that trustees should not leave buildings uninsured, so should the charity's public reputation be protected. As part of this duty, trustees are expected to take reasonable steps to protect the charity's trade marks and should consider registration carefully.
- A trade mark registration will enable a school to control the manufacture and supply (and income stream thereby generated) of branded products such as stationery and school uniform.
- A trade mark registration is a very useful tool when combating internet abuse. We frequently shut down websites and remove abusive content from social media on the basis of trade mark registrations.
- Trade mark protection is a vital step to take when considering an international school project. Protecting the school's trade marks at an early stage will enable your school to control the use made of its trade marks in the particular territory and ensure that the school retains control over the use made of its valuable reputation. Further information on international trade mark protection.
- Once a trade mark is registered, the school will be able to use the ® symbol with the trade mark. This demonstrates that the school has taken the important step of registering its trade mark, and acts as a deterrent to would-be infringers.
Experienced Trade Mark Lawyers
It is not always straightforward to register a school name as a trade mark, as school names are often descriptive of an educational institution in a particular locality. Our trade mark lawyers have an excellent record of successfully registering such descriptive trade marks, based on the school's long-established use of the school name.
There are special rules relating to applications to register heraldic devices (such as crests) as trade marks. Our trade mark lawyers are very experienced in dealing with these rules and will be happy to review your crest and advise you whether they apply.
To discuss how our education lawyers can help you, please contact Barney Northover on 0117 314 5395.