The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is due to implement a number of changes to the application process for trade marks. The changes, which are outlined below, will come into effect on 1 October 2009.

A: Changes to official fees

The following changes to the IPO’s official fees will apply:

  1. There will be a £30 discount on the total trade mark registration fee, where an application is filed online.
  2. The fee for requesting an extension of time where a deadline has been missed will increase from £50 to £100. This also applies to requests for an extension of time in tribunal proceedings.

B: Series of Trade Marks

The following changes will apply to applications for a series of marks made after 1 October 2009:

  1. The number of marks in a series will be capped at 6.
  2. There will be a fee of £50 for each mark in a series beyond the first two.
  3. Where, upon examination, the IPO considers that there is not a valid series, marks must be deleted from the application until a valid series remains. If protection is required for the deleted marks, new applications must be filed.

C: “Right Start” service

The IPO has set up a new online service through which applicants can obtain an initial examination of their application upon payment of half of the total fees due for the application. In addition, the Right Start service allows applicants to discuss the application directly with a trade marks examiner, particularly in respect of any issues raised by the IPO as to the registrability of the mark and, if possible, agree a method for overcoming those issues.

The balance of the application fee only becomes payable only if you decide to continue with the application. The service therefore provides new applicants, and those with marks which may be borderline cases, the opportunity make an application without the risk of paying the full application fee up front for a mark which then falls at the first hurdle.

Please note that the discount for online applications does not apply to applications submitted through the Right Start Service.