A trademark when registered to your business, is essential in the protection of your intangible assets and intellectual property.
It also works to make your business name unique and recognisable from the competition present within your field.
Many businesses make the mistake of putting off the process of trademark registration: contrary to popular belief, trademarks registration is not rife with complexities and complications.
The following steps will aid you in having a trouble-free, painless trade mark registration.
Choosing your Trade mark
A trade mark is something used to identify the specific goods and services of one company from those of another. This definition includes names, symbols, figures, entire words or single letters.
A ‘trademark’ is the term used to describe the marks used to signify goods: a ‘service mark’ is the term used to signify services. However, most people use the term trademark for both.
A trademark is more than simply a name. Your registered trademark is actually a type of intellectual property that can be purchased, sold, or licensed.
When you register your trademark, it becomes solely yours: other companies cannot use it without your explicit permission for risk of infringement. Your trade mark will increase its value as your brand does.
Whether you’re starting out or continuing to grow your business, you should register a trademark in order to prevent a competitor from marketing similar products or services under your business name.
When you have a registered trademark, other companies may still attempt to do this: however, your trademark gives you the right to take legal action against them.
Choosing a trademark can be tricky. Most business names aren’t actually applicable for registration.
In order to successfully register your business name as a trade mark, you need to select a name that is completely unique from the others within your market.
Examples for this include made-up names or words used as trademarks, for instance, Google.
You could also use a symbol or object that has no obvious correlation with the product it signifies, such as the ‘apple’ symbol used by Apple computers.
Strong marks are generally more successful in profiling your business than ‘weak’ marks. A weak mark has a clear relation to the product or service it signifies. For example, ‘Joe’s Plumbing Company’ clearly relates to a plumbing service. It lacks uniqueness and would therefore be very difficult to register as a trade mark.
If you’re worried about coming up with a company name that will be registered successfully, you should speak to your local Sunshine Coast lawyer before your application process begins.
An experienced lawyer will help you choose a name, or at least give you their legal opinion on a name, in order to increase your chances of trademark approval.
Registry Trademark Searches
Once you’ve settled on a mark design, you then need to make certain checks to ensure that no one else within your market has filed a conflicting application.
Registration conflict might occur when another company, supplying the same goods and services as your own, has applied for a similar trademark symbol.
You can access a number of free search engines to check for similar applications: however, a free search engine may not provide you with a full scope of all other applications.
Consulting a professional is the best option for conducting your registry searches. An experienced trademarks lawyer can provide you with a complete search report, as well as explain these search results to you. Your lawyer will be able to explain to you, fully, why or why not your trade mark is eligible for registration.
Applying for a Trade mark Registration
Once you and your lawyer have selected a trademark for your business and undergone a thorough search of all the appropriate registries, you will then have to file an application with IP Australia, the government body that administers Australian intellectual property rights, specifically trade marks, patents, and designs.
The information that you supply on your application will determine not only your trade mark rights, but also how far your legal protection will extend.
The trademark application is a reasonably difficult document to fill out correctly. Once your application is filed, an attorney will review your application and determine whether or not your trade mark is suitable for registration.
While you can access trade mark application forms online, it is wise to seek the assistance of a professional lawyer when you’re filling out your form.
Consult with a professional before you complete the submission process in order to ensure that you have filled out everything correctly, therefore allowing you the best chance to be registered, and providing you with as much protection as possible.