What is the correct format to use when referring to trademarks in British English? Is "trademarks" generally preferable?

I've seen both used in different contexts, the UK GOV page uses "trade marks", but I'm not sure. Trade marks looks a little scruffy to me.

  • If you search the gov.uk site, there are some pages where it is spelled as a single word.
    – Laurel
    Apr 6 '18 at 14:52
  • And if you look closely you can see some scuffs and scratches on the bottom from when I traded it to Kevin.
    – Jim
    Jun 5 '18 at 21:40

It appears that both forms are in current use, almost equally, with a slight advantage to trademark as a single word.

ngram of trademark and trade mark

trademark in blue, trade mark in red. Note this graph is generated from British data alone.


With the term being a legal construct, I would treat the government's presentation as authoritative.

Perhaps it looks wrong to you because you are American? In the US, the government does write it as trademark.

Edit: The relevant statutes are available online for both the United States and the United Kingdom. The difference stems from the laws as written, and "trade marks" is technically correct in the UK even though common usage may be trending toward the American version.

  • I'm a Brit, but I think I just prefer 'trademark'. I was also wondering whether or not this may have have been a British vs. American English phenomenon
    – Sam
    Apr 6 '18 at 14:26
  • 3
    Perhaps it is common to write it that way. In the US, our law is the Trademark Act, while in Britain it is the Trade Marks Act.
    – DoubleD
    Apr 6 '18 at 14:32

The form should be in the form that it is in your Trade Marks Act. In Australia it is two words, in America it is one. So when referring to the foreign mark we refer to American marks as being trademark but Australian as being trade mark.

But Google, for search engine rankings distinguishes them. So it depends on what use you are talking about as to which one you might use.

  • A link to your source, do you have? :)
    – NVZ
    Jul 21 '19 at 10:12
  • I am not sure what link you want. I am a registered Australian Trade Marks Attorney [link] (eaglegate.com.au) and have been for over 10 years. I am also a trademarks lawyer. This is the convention we all follow. I am not sure it is written anywhere. But it should be logical that you use the words as the country does. Jul 21 '19 at 10:27
  • I see. In that case, it would help if you include that information in the answer body.
    – NVZ
    Jul 21 '19 at 10:47

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