- A registered trademark is an incredibly valuable asset.
- According to a recent estimate, your business brand can, on average, be equal to one-third of your entire corporate value.
- Designing and protecting a trademark is not a trivial matter: rather, a registered trademark is an investment in consumer trust and loyalty, leading to a rise in customer satisfaction and an increase in revenue.
- A registered trademark can be a wide range of things: be it a word, logo, sound, shape, colour, taste, graphic, smell, or a combination of any of these, it acts to distinguish your goods and services from those of the competition.
- Your trademark, particularly once established, works to assure customers of a certain level of quality and service.
Registered Trademark Australia
Registered trademarks are essentially unique and distinguishable. The most successful trademark is one that imprints itself on the mind of the buyer; is associated with a high level of quality and consistency; is identifiable amongst the hundreds of competitors within the marketplace; is creative, unique, and recognisable.
You can apply to register your mark with IP Australia for full protection against infringement. Trademark registration protects you on a nation – and potentially international – scale for a decade and can be renewed indefinitely. On your trademark application, you will need to provide a clear image of your mark as well as a detailed description. You will need to detail your current and intended use for the mark. You will also need to nominate a number of products and services that you will associate with your registered trademark.
Before you apply to register your mark, you should conduct a FREE trademark search. This search will tell you whether or not your mark is still available for use. Should you find a similar mark already in use, you should alter or redesign your mark to be more unique and recognisable.
Ten Benefits of Trademark Registration
- A registered trademark discourages other parties from using identical or confusingly similar marks by making your mark easily noticeable in a trademark search. This prevents potential infringement without any legal action need taken place.
- Prevents the registration of confusingly similar marks, as IP Australia checks every application against every current registration. IP Australia will refuse to register any mark that is confusingly similar to another in order to prevent unfair competition or consumer confusion. This means that the Australian government essentially assists in protecting your mark, at no extra cost to you.
- Your trademark protection spans all of Australia, when your rights as an unregistered holder would only entitle you limited protection within your specific region. This means that, should your mark be unregistered, other traders can use your trademark within a different region without penalty.
- A registered trademark provides nationwide notice of your ownership of the mark, preventing other traders from claiming that their use of a confusingly similar mark was ‘in good faith’.
- Your registration serves as evidence of a legitimate, exclusive ownership of your mark for the products and services nominated by your registration, which will assist you in court proceedings should another party accuse you of infringement. Similarly, your undisputed ownership can discourage other parties from attempting a legal battle.
- A registered trademark can legally be used in conjunction with the ® symbol, thereby granting your products and services increased marketing cachet. The use of this symbol also signifies to competitors that you are in a defensible position to protect your intellectual property.
- Your registration grants you the right to sue other parties in court and, in some cases, receive damages and attorney fees. This therefore can return significant money spent in the protection of your mark.
- Your registration also entitles you to obtain some statutory damages should another party counterfeit your mark: therefore you do not have to take legal action to receive monetary compensation.
- An Australian registration gives you a basis for international registrations should you wish to expand your business overseas.
- Trademark registration empowers Australian Customs to block imports from overseas that are infringing on your intellectual property, or seize counterfeits, once your registration is officially recorded. Once again, the government aids you in protecting your mark at no additional cost.
Australian Registered Trademark
Bear in mind that trademarks that are generic or merely descriptive of the associated products and services are not eligible for registration. The key to a registrable trademark is individuality and recognisability.
You can be protected without trademark registration to a certain extent under common law. Enforcing an infringement case under common law, however, is expensive and often unsuccessful. In addition, you can only enforce your rights without your specific region, not on a national or international scale.
You can apply to IP Australia with an ‘Intent to Use’ form for a particular trademark in order to reserve your mark for future registration. This will prevent other companies from attempting to register a confusingly similar mark: however, your protection is still limited. The only failsafe way to protect your mark is to register it as a trademark.
Even once your mark is registered, you should not use it in a generic sense to refer to your goods and services. If your mark is popularly used as a generic term, it will cease to exist as a registrable mark. Your mark should be used to modify the generic noun: for example APPLE electronics or PANADOL paracetamol. Your mark can become unprotectable as a generic term: CELLOPHANE, ESCALATOR, and ASPIRIN were all once protected trademarks.
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.