What makes a Good Trademark? There are a number of different situations that require the protection of good trademark registration: in some situations, trademark registration is more prudent than others. The key to savvy trademarking is understanding precisely when to trademark. There are a number of situations in which you require a trademark, including when you are:
- Known under another company name
- Promoting a strong brand name
- Considering franchising or licensing
- Importing or exporting
Similarly, if you are an association, established business, entertainer, a service company, or a publisher, you may be in need of a good trademark. In any of these situations, you should consider registering your trademark, be this a corporate name, trade name, or brand name, to protect you against your competitors within the marketplace.
If you are an established company within the marketplace, it’s likely that your goods and services are recognised by consumers with a ‘nickname’. This nickname could be:
- A shortened version of your official corporate name,
- A distinctive part of your official corporate name, or
- A completely different name.
This is a common occurrence amongst established businesses, which is why most companies conduct thorough research concerning the distinctive parts of their official corporate names. You might choose a Good Trademark in your marketplace ‘nickname’ to prevent other companies from using your established reputation to market their own similar goods and services.
What Makes a Good Trademark – Trademarked Brand Names
Brand names are incredibly important in the marketing of products and services. Consumers often recognise brand names over the name of the actual product. There is an increased focus on ‘branding’ products and services as opposed to advertising them as they are. Know exactly how consumers identify your products and services in order to get a good trademark for your brand name.
If your business offers the opportunity to franchise, then it is a prime candidate for good trademark registration. As the owner of a good trademark, you have the right to register, as well as cancel out, other parties as registered users of your trademark. This right grants you a high level of control over other parties marketing products and services under your trademarked name.
Disagreements between the franchisee and the franchisor are often drawn out over a period of months, or in extreme cases, years. However, should you be the registered owner of a good trademark that the franchisee operates under, you need only provide thirty days of written notice to cancel a licensed user agreement. As the owner of a mark, you are then granted the right to cancel all items that bear your trademark once this thirty days is expired. Owning your own trademark makes you a powerful player in the game of franchise.
Trademarking for Licensors
Owning a good trademark is important when you’re licensing other parties to use your company’s reputation to market products and services. The same rules apply for licensors as they do franchisors. If you are a licensor, you are required to keep a tight rein on product and service control on your licensees in order to maintain your good reputation. Trademarking your company name gives you greater control over your licensees, as you have the right to cancel license agreements should your licensees fail to maintain the required standards.
Trademarking for Importers
If your company has made the effort to secure the Australian marketing rights to a product that is sold overseas, you are required to spend the money to promote this product locally in order to attract the interest of the Australian market. It’s your responsibility to generate an imported product’s good reputation. This takes time and money: therefore, as an importer, it’s important that you protect your investment in the reputation of your product.
Trademarks for Exporters
Australian trademark law is generally only applicable to certain regions: there are special applications to make before your trademark can be registered internationally. Once you have acquired international registration, you are granted protection against foreign exporters looking to infiltrate the marketplace by producing a similar, competitive product to your own in a foreign nation.
If you hold ownership of an internationally registered good trademark, customs officials will deny the import of other, international products that infringe on your trademarking rights.
Trademark for Associations
If you work for an organisation, union, or professional association, you more than likely operate under a set of established standards that all members of your company are required to uphold. Part of your good reputation is generated by the maintenance of these standards. While the name of your association is unlikely to be applicable for registration, your logo usually is.
Your logo signifies a certain standard of service: each member of your association is required to meet these standards in order to remain a member. Therefore the public recognises your trademarked logo as a signifier of the quality of the service you provide.
Trademarks for Established Businesses
As an established business, you have a good reputation within the marketplace: you’ve been in business for a long time, you have multiple locations within the community, and your consumers trust your company name. It’s time to consider registering your good trademark.
Your good reputation is vulnerable to other businesses looking to cash-in on your goodwill. Your good trademark, left unregistered, provides others with the opportunity to promote a similar product or service in another community under your name.
Trademark for Service Companies
While service companies require the most protection against trademark infringement, this area is often overlooked. A service company might entail:
- Construction company
- Home builder
- Machine shop
- Trucking company
- Many more…
If you are a service provider, you are incredibly vulnerable to the theft of your good reputation for service. Service companies include more than half of the businesses listed in the Australian Yellow Pages, and yet they account for less than three per cent of Australia’s registered good trademarks.
Trademark for Entertainers
If you operate under a stage name or caricature, you are a prime candidate for a registered good trademark. Even your signature is applicable. When you are recognised by the public as an entertainer, your stage name, signature, or caricature can be used to market your products.
This is an interesting good trademark situation: you are the product or brand name that requires protection against infringement.
Trademark for Publishers
If you are the author or publishers of a series of articles or magazines, or software, with a changing consumer-base, it’s important that you register the names and titles of your works. Your names and titles signify the quality and uniqueness of certain work or works: prevent others from siphoning recognition by using similar names and titles.
Quick Off the Mark® is a division of Mark My Words Trademark Services Pty Ltd (MMW). MMW was founded in 2011 and is headed by Jacqui Pryor, a registered trade marks attorney with more than 16 years experience.
In 2015 MMW acquired Quick Off the Mark®, which is a fast and affordable Australian trademark registration service. Quick Off the Mark® offers fixed fees that are affordable to help Australian businesses register their trademarks.
Disclaimer – The advice provided in this blog is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your business objectives, legal situation or needs. Before acting on this advice you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, legal situation and needs.