Protection under a Registered Trade Mark
Extent of Protection
The proprietor of a registered trade mark has the exclusive right to use the mark in the class or classes of goods or services under which it is registered. Registration entitles you to prevent use by another of an identical or similar mark.
Whilst your rights are protected from the date of application for registration, trade mark infringement proceedings cannot be begun before the mark has been registered or before the interest of a user of the mark has been registered.
There are certain circumstances where use of your marks by another trader is permitted and is therefore not to be considered to be infringement. You cannot complain of use of your marking in comparative advertising by a competitor where such use is fair, or as an indication of product characteristics, or where reference to the mark is necessary to indicate the intended purpose of another trader's products or services (e.g. where he is advertising spare parts for your product).
Duration of Protection and Challenges
Registration lasts for ten years initially and is renewable for further ten year periods. However, it can be revoked if for no good reason, five years have passed since registration and you have never used the mark; it is five years since you last used the mark; you acquiesced in the use of a conflicting mark; or the mark has become generic i.e. it has become generally used other than in respect of your product or service (e.g. Hoover for vacuum cleaners).
The risk of revocation demonstrates the need to police the mark properly after registration.