Debitoor's accounting dictionary
Trade mark

Trade mark - What is a trade mark?

A trade mark is a type of protection for intellectual property such as logos, slogans, and other branding images

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A trade marked image or logo is indicated by the ® symbol. Trade marked items are considered the property of the registered owner and are under the protection of intellectual property rights. They fall under a similar category with copyrights and the stricter patents.

What can be trade marked?

Trade marks can be registered for simple branding purposes. This means that a unique company logo, image, sound, words, colours - or any combination of these elements.

However, it isn’t possible to trade mark anything that is 3D, has offensive language or imagery, is misleading or too general, or simply describes its product or service. It must be unique and at least slightly creative.

How to register a trade mark

First, it’s important to do some research to ensure that your trade mark is not already registered. You can do so by checking in the trade marks database.

If you do not find a trade marked image that is too similar to yours, you can continue with the registration process. Next, determine which class your trade mark falls under - for example, Class 11 for lighting, Class 15 for musical instruments. View the full list on gov.uk.

You can apply for trade mark registration online, pay a fee of £170 (£50 for additional classes), and wait approximately four months.

Trade marks can be found on any number of different types of words and images used for branding

Using a trade mark to protect your intellectual property

By trade marking your brand, you are entitled to take legal action against those who use or copy your brand without your permission. You’ll also be able to add that ubiquitous ® symbol and license your brand for sale, if you wish.

You’ll have the right to register an objection if you come across a trade mark that is too similar to your own. It’s also possible to mortgage a trademark after it has been registered. Trade marks last for 10 years after their date of registration.

Trade marks and accounting

From an accounting perspective, a trade mark is clearly an asset to your company. By forming a crucial element of your brand, it is a beneficial to your accounts.

It should be registered as an asset in your business accounts and should be tracked for amortisation (depreciation) over it’s useful life.

Trade marks and Debitoor

You can register all of your assets in your Debitoor account with our larger plans. Simply enter the value and the useful life of the trade mark under the ‘Patents and rights’ category, and depreciation is tracked automatically.

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