Forms the framework for the trade mark laws.
A trade mark can be a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, sound, shape, signature or any combination of these elements.
The Trade Marks Act 1994 states that "a person infringes a registered trade mark if he uses in the course of trade a sign which is identical with the trade mark in relation to goods or services which are identical with those for which it is registered".
A person may also infringe a registered trade mark where the sign is similar and the goods or services are similar to those for which the mark is registered and there is a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public as a result.
A person also infringes a registered trade mark where a sign is identical, but the goods are dissimilar if the trade mark has a reputation in the UK and its use takes unfair advantage of, or is detrimental to, the mark's distinctive character or reputation.
The registration of trade marks in the UK is achieved through the UK Intellectual Property Office. If registration is accepted by the UKIPO, a number of exclusive rights are bestowed upon the trade mark owner. These rights allow the owner to prevent unauthorised use of the mark on products that are identical or similar to the registered mark. Trade marks are registered in one or more of 45 classes. There are 34 classes of goods and 11 for services.
Section 11 of the Trade Marks Act 1994 (TMA 1994) provides specific exceptions to trade mark infringement (or limits on the effect of a registered trade mark), which apply even if the trade mark is validly registered.
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