We have received confirmation: our trademark ALT has been registered in the UK. Sometime earlier, it was registered in Germany, and in Russia we have owned it for more than 15 years, so now we control the trade mark and our domain name (alt-invest.ru/de/co.uk) in these countries. By the New Year, the number is to grow to eight countries, and at that level we will stop for a while.
The process of trade mark registration is probably the most bureaucratic among all registration procedures in the world. In the case of our trade mark, we started in about January, and now only two countries of eight have finished the registration. On average, it takes about a year to get the protection of a trade mark, and the term does not vary in different countries a great deal. In Russia the problem grows even more serious, as you cannot check availability of a mark without help of a patent attorney, therefore the possibilities of free research on the matter are limited. In the international system of the World International Property Organization all data are more accessible, and one can look for any available information of the marks (http://www.wipo.int/romarin).
Unfortunately, that is only part of the information. It covers the marks registered under the Madrid Protocol, which usually means registration in many countries at once. For example, there are some registrations in Russia for the word ALT in different classes of goods and services that were made only in Russia, and they are invisible to the WIPO. That looks strange to me, as all the databases are automated, and the solution to the problem looks quite straightforward.
But anyway, we have done it, and that is good news.