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Trade marks - the applicant

Written by Mekael Rahman on 31 January 2017

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It is imperative to appreciate that a registered trade mark and an application for registration are both personal property. An applicant must therefore be an individual i.e. a natural person or some kind of legal entity that is capable of owning property. In the event that the applicant’s legal status is uncertain, the UKIPO may request the former to confirm that they have the requisite standing to hold property in their own name.

The UKIPO employ the following guidelines when determining the legal status of an applicant:

Companies/corporate bodies

‘Any form of company, that is, a business incorporated into a legal entity as distinct from … [their] members or directors, is capable of holding property in … [their] own name.’

Partnerships

‘Partnerships (including limited liability partnerships, partnerships governed by an agreement and partnerships at will) are allowed to be recorded as applicants.’

Other unincorporated bodies

Other unincorporated bodies generally do not have the capacity to hold property in their own name.

Trustees

In accordance with Section 26 if an application is made by a trustee, their name will be stored on the register even though it is for the benefit of another person. It is therefore only the legal owner of the mark whose name will appear on the register. This will be the case, even if the beneficiary is a person who is capable of owning property in their own name.

Registered charities

Just because an organisation is a registered charity does not automatically entitle them to hold property; they may need some other form of legal personality prior to possessing the pertinent powers. Nevertheless, the Registrar will accept an assurance from the filer that the registered charity has the requisite status to hold property in their own name. 

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