5pm on a Friday is when my email inbox goes wild. It feels like everybody on the planet is trying to complete their week’s actions by passing them on to me!

The weekend has to be delayed by an hour or so as I try to score some brownie points by completing the easy ones and finding victims to forward the others. And so as I was closing my desktops down at 6.30pm I was annoyed to hear yet another plomp in. But it was the start of a good weekend. Confirmation from the Government Trademark office that QwikSites was now a registered trademark. The successful completion of a six month exercise.

Getting a trademark is something I would encourage others to consider.

Why did we do it? Well we first registered a QwikSites domain back in 2003 as an exercise in allowing users to design their own websites from a few standard templates and a choice of colours. This was predates the days of WordPress when the only previous way to build a website was to employ a HTML coder. It was clever, we were amongst the first to attempt it – but the results were not impressive. The amount of work being spent on developing and maintaining server side scripts could have been better used to create better personalised sites for a better margin.

Hence we retired from the scene and left it to the likes of 1-2-3 backed with a big advertising budget.

However, the relentless rise of WordPress and its transition from a primitive blogging to to a full scale CMS, meant we could forget the scripts and concentrate on marrying themes to clients together with the level of support in customisation and updating required. We relaunched the new WordPress driven QwikSites last November.

However, in the last ten years lots of other Quick/Qwiksites had appeared. Some of very poor quality, others of dubious heritage. We needed to distinguish ourselves and to add to our prior art claim and protection from claims by registering our name for over a decade as a trademark. I had never been involved in any official Intellectual Property (IP) before and was worried it would be complicated and expensive.

It turned out not to be. You don’t need an agent – unless you are doing something complex worldwide and likely to become of interest to other IP holders. We didn’t think that would happen. The total cost of applying was only £200 and if it went wrong we were prepared to write it off.

Hence last November we started. We used the government’s own RightStart service. The most difficult part was choosing the right classification from the thousands on offer. We cheated by checking out the trademarks of other companies in the same field to end up with class 42. We checked other claims on QwikSites. There were none, so we paid our dosh and sat back to see what happened.

Well the bad news was that the government inspector thought a nearby existing trademark might have a case for objection but his advice on that never arrived and as we then didn’t respond in the time aavailable our application was automatically cancelled. The good news was that the civil service is, in this case, staffed by human beings who reconsidered and put our application back on line. And last Friday it completed.

So do think about protecting your name or brand. If you do it doesn’t have to be expensive. But if you do – it may be worthwhile monitoring process of the application online to avoid disappointment. If you are interested start here:

QwikSites makes its mark!
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