Trademark, how to

Getting Flatmate Rooms trademark registered with UK Intellectual Property Office involved a few steps so here comes a little writeup of the process. I hope it helps if you are going through a trademark application or just inquisitive.

First the easy part: Headed over to ipo.gov.uk, filled out the forms, paid and soon recieved confirmation with trade mark application attached.

…and than the hard part: Application was not acceptable. IPO raised an objection to discuss. We needed supporting documents and witness statement to go with it. So here it goes.


JS1 homepage screenshot & JS 2 window sticker

  window sticker


JS 3 hypertext references

Academic / Universities recommending Flatmate Rooms

Richmond university in London: Independent Housing Options

www.richmond.ac.uk/content/student-affairs/accommodation/off-campus-accommodation/independent-housing-options.aspx

Bedford University: Private rented accommodation

www.bedford.ac.uk/International-students/Living-in-Bedford/Accommodation.aspx

Cambridge University: Alternative Accommodation in Cambridge

www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/index.php?page=alternative-accommodation

Oxford: What if I can’t get College accommodation?

www.gtc.ox.ac.uk/college-life/facilities/accommodation.html

Buckinghamshire New University: Accommodation - Useful websites

bucks.ac.uk/home_eu_students/accommodation/alternative_sources_wycombe/

Sanger institute: Housing

www.sanger.ac.uk/workstudy/information/moving.html

Abertay University: Private Accommodation - Useful websites

www.abertay.ac.uk/studying/accommodation/2013-14/otheraccommodationinformation/privateaccommodation/

Local Governments and other Government references

London Council: Renting tips - Where do I start?

london.gov.uk/rents/london/private/tips.jsp

Lincolnshire County Council: Housing - Links

www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/residents/community-and-living/housing?tab=links

Lewisham Council: Find a private rented home

www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/housing/find/Pages/Find-a-private-rented-home.aspx

St Edmundsbury Borough Council: Housing - Privately renting - Internet

stedmundsbury.gov.uk/housing/privately-renting.cfm

Southampton Council: Homelessness - Looking for accommodation? - Links

www.southampton.gov.uk/living/housing/moneysolutions/homelessadvice/accommodation.aspx

Basildon Council: House Share, Flat Share and Rooms to Rent

www.basildon.gov.uk/article/2887/House-Share-Flat-Share-and-Rooms-to-Rent

Mid Suffolk District Council: Stay Safe poster available for download, reprinted by other councils

www.midsuffolk.gov.uk/housing-and-homelessness/homelessness-and-housing-advice/looking-for-a-home/

Blackburn with Darwen Council: Homelessness advice and support - external links

www.blackburn.gov.uk/Pages/Housing-advice-and-support.aspx

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council: Renting a private property - Websites

www.nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk/info/200238/housing_advice/315/renting_a_private_property

DATA.GOV.UK: Featured app - Flatmate Rooms

data.gov.uk/apps/flatmate-rooms-easy-roommate-and-spare-room-finder-uk-wide

Companies house: Listing

data.companieshouse.gov.uk/doc/company/06690044

 


TRADE MARKS ACT 1994

IN THE MATTER OF
Trade Mark Application No: UK00003019522
In the name of: Flatmate Rooms Ltd
To register the mark: FLATMATE ROOMS
In Classes: 35 and 36

WITNESS STATEMENT

  1. I, Frantisek Malina am the director and co-founder of Flatmate Rooms ltd a position which I have held since 2009. The facts in this statement come from my personal knowledge or the records of my company and I am duly authorised to speak on my company’s behalf in the prosecution of this application.

  2. The trade mark FLATMATE ROOMS was first used in the United Kingdom in the year 2008.

  3. FLATMATE ROOMS is an established UK community marketplace of landlords and property owners finding trusted flatmates and tenants looking for better places to live.

    The goods/services on which the mark has been used, and the date of first use, are as follows:

    Class 35 - Advertising of rooms and residential real estate on the Internet provided via a database first used in 2009

    Class 36 - Agency for renting of residential premises first used in the year 2009

  4. There is now produced and shown to me:

    Exhibit JS1 which is a current screenshot of the homepage of the site that received 24,740,000 pageviews to date from 2,450,000 unique visitors. Flatmate Rooms website has currently 255,000 registered members and is steadily growing.

    Exhibit JS2 which is a copy of the window sticker used by private landlords and estate agents nationwide.

    Exhibit JS3 which is a collection of hypertext references showing a sample of public sector organisations who recommend Flatmate Rooms service, many of these are also published in printed versions such as booklets for university students, posters, council advice for tenants and landlord magazines. I have excluded private sector references as we have generated over the years close to a hundred of thousands due to heavy online, social and mobile advertising.

    In these samples our service is referred to as Flatmate Rooms, FlatmateRooms, Flatmate Rooms.co.uk or FlatMateRooms. All these spelling variations are used throughout the web and hundreds of printed publications to refer to our site or company and absolutely nothing else. Usage of space does not affect the meaning as on its own both words are commonly used, together however they uniquely and distinctively identify our company and service. I will also outline exclusions based on searches within english written literature and publicly accessible internet.

  5. Annual sales of the services before the date of application were as follows:
    2009 £1,668; 2010 £6,976; 2011 £57,910; 2012 £119,059; 2013 £165,584
  6. Annual amounts spent on promoting the services before the date of application were as follows (excluding wages of directors who spend their work time developing the website and promoting the services):
     
      Marketing,
    PPC & PR
    Website costs Print/Stationary
    Postage
    Mobile
    marketing
    Marketing
    staff wages
    Total
    2009 £7,263.55 £22,487.14 £701.23 £1,107.56 £0.00 £31,560
    2010 £4,598.09 £7,153.13 £613.39 £926.55 £0.00 £13,290
    2011 £372.82 £1,674.16 £360.06 £2,428.85 £5,239.07 £10,075
    2012 £1,404.25 £2,164.65 £232.99 £2,977.08 £9,003.68 £15,783
    2013 £12,984.16 £4,304.48 £438.71 £3,118.02 £10,640.63 £31,486
  7. The mark has been used on the goods/services in the following parts of the United Kingdom:
    England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland
  8. The terms "flatmate rooms" and "flatmaterooms" distinctively represent our company and are never used in natural english to refer to anything else, the combination "flatmate rooms" does not appear due to syntax rules and semantics of the words in english language. No web sites contain phrases Flatmate Rooms or FlatmateRooms without referring to my firm as these would be only used to identify our company and service.

    Terms flatmates and room do appear close if used in the following combinations:

    • …flatmate's room… Note the apostrophe and the trailing s to denote possession, this is not what we claim to trademark.

    • …visited by flatmates, rooms are available to rent… Terms could appear close to each other if separated by a comma adjoining two sentences or in lists of plural keywords. This does not correspond to a phrase.

    I truly believe that as a result of the use made of it by my firm, the mark FLATMATE ROOMS is well known to the landlords and lodgers renting out rooms in the United Kingdom, and is uniquely associated with FLATMATE ROOMS Ltd, and that this unique combination of words distinguishes the services sold by FLATMATE ROOMS Ltd from other such service providers.

  9. I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true.

Signed F. Malina


All done. So now we can officialy show off with our registered trademark:

Flatmate Rooms ®

The problem is, I loathe it. It's an uppercase r in a circle pretending to be a sticker sitting on a baseline. There's no superscript unicode codepoint for it and if there was one it would be illegible at standard text size. How abysmal in a browser title or PPC text advert, typographic nightmare. Back to good old ™.

Flatmate Rooms™, there. Better.

--FM


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