What Can You Register as a Trade Mark?

We recommend that you consider seeking registered trade mark protection for all marks (such as brand names, trading names and logos) which you use and deem to be of commercial value to your business and/or whose use by third parties you would wish to object to.

Any sign which can be represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one business from those of another is registrable as a trade mark (subject to the “absolute” grounds and “relative” grounds for refusal which are explained further in this section).

Trade marks can therefore be:

  • Words e.g. MARS
  • Logos e.g. McDonald’s golden ‘M’
  • Slogans e.g. Nike’s ‘JUST DO IT’
  • Shapes e.g. Coca-Cola’s bottle shape
  • Colours e.g. UPS’ brown colour
  • Moving Images e.g. Microsoft’s pulsating Windows logo
  • Sounds e.g. Intel’s 4 note jingle
  • Smells e.g. ‘a roses scent’ applied to tyres


Next – What Makes a Strong Brand (from a Legal Perspective)?