Trade marks

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The British Library has a large collection of British, overseas and international trade mark publications.

About the collection

We have collected trade mark publications from Britain and many other countries worldwide since the late 19th century. We also have publications from the regional and international authorities through whom it is possible to apply for trade mark protection.   

The publications record details of the trade marks for which protection has been sought and identify the individuals and/or companies which have made the applications. In many cases an index by applicant name and by the type of product to which the trade mark will apply are also available.

The publications are held either in print, on microfiche or on compact disk. Since most trade mark authorities now publish online we now add very little material to the collection but, where possible, we try to direct researchers to online trade mark resources.

The earliest British trade mark publication we have is the first issue of the Trade Marks Journal, published in 1876, just one year after the passage of the first British trade mark legislation. British trade mark no.1, which identifies Bass pale ale, is still in force.

What is available online?

There are a number of free trade mark databases which can be used for searching however we strongly advise researchers new to the field to discuss their information needs with our information specialists before beginning an online trade mark search.

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

The trade mark collection can be consulted in the Business & IP Centre reading room at St Pancras. The information specialists based there know the collection very well and are always happy to offer help and advice to researchers.

You will find detailed information on the trade mark documents we hold in our country specific collection lists which are available on request from the Business and IP Centre team.

Most of the collection is kept in reserve stores in London or at Boston Spa, so please remember to contact us before visiting to check availability and delivery times for any documents you want to look at. All the information you need on visiting the library and applying for a pass to use our reading rooms is here: St Pancras Reading Rooms. Please read it carefully before planning a visit.

And if you are thinking about applying for a trade mark or if you want to find out more about how trade marks can be used to protect and develop your business, then then take a look at these articles written by our Business and IP Centre team .

How to guides

Find early British patents

A guide on finding British patents from the period 1617-1899

How to get a Reader Pass if you are under 18

How to apply for an under 18 Reader Pass

Get a Reader Pass

Access over 170 million collection items for free with a Reader Pass.