When you’re starting a business or looking to launch a new brand, it’s critical to understand what you need to protect your brand. The most common approach is to register your business name; however, is this enough? Do you also need to register your trademark?
A trademark can be your most valuable marketing tool. As an essential component of your brand, a trademark is your identity – the way you show your customers who you are. The more successful your business, the more valuable your trademark becomes.
So, if you haven’t registered your trademark, you might be wondering what’s involved in protecting your brand and your Intellectual Property (IP).
What is a trademark?
Before we start with what a trademark is, let’s confirm what it is not. A trademark is not a business name, company name or domain name.
A common misconception is that a trademark is the same as a business name, company name or domain name. Well, it’s not. While they’re required to run a business in Australia, they don’t provide you with the right to prevent others from using the same or similar name.
A trademark is a recognisable mark that is used to differentiate your branding. A trademark can be a word, image or a combination of the two. Trademarks are registered with IP Australia.
Once registered, you have the exclusive right to use that trademark in the goods/services that you have applied for ten years, with the option to continue renewing your registration for as long as you require.
Can I register my trademark globally?
If you wish to go global, once you have a registered trademark in Australia, you have the opportunity to register your Trademark internationally through the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
What can I register as a trademark?
Your trademark must be distinct and not currently registered to another trader. Whilst running your business or marketing your product, you may wish to register any of the following, or a combination of any of them, as a registered trademark:
- Symbol or image
- Letter or number
Once you have chosen your trademark, you must then consider which commercial areas you wish for your trademark to be protected in. It is essential to note that a trademark can only be registered within specific classes and under specific goods/services.
Your exclusive right to a trademark, both unregistered and registered, is not unlimited. Having your trademark registered in specific areas, will ensure there is no discrepancy around your ownership of the trademark.
What are the commercial benefits of registering my trademark?
A trademark is a legal and exclusive right you can use while trading. A trademark can be used and not registered with IP Australia; however, if somebody does attempt to infringe your trademark, the process for proving your ownership can be more costly and complex.
In addition, once registered, your trademark can be licensed, increasing the visibility of your branding. A registered trademark is a highly desirable asset for any business. Should you ever wish to sell your business, a registered trademark is an attractive asset for any future potential purchasers of your business.
How can Morrows help?
If you are looking for ways to protect your brand, we highly recommend registering your trademark. Our Intellectual Property Lawyers have the expertise to handle registrations and infringement relating to trademarks. Please reach out to Morrows Legal Solutions if you require strategic legal advice to protect your brand.