Registration of your trade mark gives you the exclusive right to use the mark on the goods or services for which it is registered. You could sue anyone else who uses the same or similar mark without your permission.
There are rules as to what can and can’t be registered.
Your trade mark must be unique. It can include:
• a combination of any of these
Your trade mark can’t:
• be offensive, e.g. contain swear words or pornographic images
• describe the goods or services it will relate to, e.g. the word cotton can’t be a trade mark for a cotton textile company
• be misleading, e.g. use the word organic for goods that aren’t organic
• be a 3-dimensional shape associated with your trade mark, e.g. use the shape of an egg for eggs
• be too common and non-distinctive, e.g. be a simple statement like we lead the way
• look too similar to state symbols like flags or hallmarks
How to register
To register a trade mark, you have to complete a Trademark Registration Form and send it to the Registrar General along with the application fee.
You must search the trade marks database before you send your application to check if anyone has already registered an identical or similar trade mark for the same or similar goods or services. There is a fee for searching the database. If you want a Registry General staff member to search the database for you, you can make the request and pay by credit card using a Trademark Search via Credit Card Form .
You can ask the holder of an existing trade mark for permission to register yours. They must give you a letter of consent - you must send this letter with your application.
You can use an agent (usually a law firm) to help you with searches and registrations.
In completing the Trademark Registration Form, there are several things you will have to consider:
• whether you want the mark to be registered in part A or part B of the Register. Most applications are made in part A as it gives slightly more protection in legal proceedings than part B.
• which class of goods or services are to be covered by the registration. There is an internationally agreed classification system which divides all goods into 34 classes and all services into 11 classes. Each application can only cover one class and you will need to clearly list the good or service claimed.
- Class 09 includes: cameras, binoculars, telescopes, night vision equipment and tape recorders.
- Class 25 includes: dresses, jackets, tee shirts, socks, stockings, shoes and children's trousers.
- Class 37 includes: construction, maintenance and repair services in respect of marine vessels.
Your application must provide an address for service in Bermuda where you want us to send all official correspondence. It must be a street address not a P.O. Box number. This is usually a law firm but it doesn’t have to be.
If an agent is applying on your behalf, you must complete a Notice of Authorisation of Agent Form, which should be sent with the application.
What happens after the application is received?
After the application is received at the Registry General the details are entered in our database and an acknowledgement letter is issued. The recorded application date is the date on which we receive the documents at our office. The application then goes to the Trade Mark Examiner for review.
1. You’ll get feedback on your application (an ‘examination report’) within 30 days - you have 6 months to resolve any problems.
2. If the examiner has no objections your application will be published in the Royal Gazette for 2 months, during which time anyone can oppose it.
3. Your trade mark will be registered once any objections are resolved - you’ll get a certificate from the Registry General to confirm the registration.
The application fee is $234 and is not refundable. Fees are payable by cash, cheque (payable to the Accountant General), Government Revenue Stamps, or credit/debit cards. Other fees in the Trademark Fees 2016-17 may also be applicable.
How long does the registration last?
Your mark will be registered for a period of seven years. After that, you can renew it for a further 14 years. The Registry General will send a reminder to your address for service if you do not apply for renewal within three months prior to the date of expiration.
What can I do with my mark after registration?
After it’s registered, you can sell, market, license and mortgage your trade mark.
You must report any changes to your name, address for service or email address so that the Register remains accurate.
You can object to other people’s trade marks, e.g. if you think they are identical or similar to yours.
What if the mark is already registered in the UK?
If your trade mark is registered in the UK, you can apply to the Registry General to have it registered in Bermuda on condition that the mark and specifications are the same as applied for in Bermuda. The Registrar General has discretion as to whether to register these marks.