- Unregistered or registered trademark in Australia? That is the question.
- Is it better to protect your incredibly valuable brand name by going through the trademark registration process?
- Or are you better off saving a little time and money by leaving your trademark unregistered?
- For those embarking upon the exciting journey of creating a new brand, one of the most important, if not the most important, issue that requires consideration is whether or not to register your brand’s trademark by using Australia trademark registration professional.
- A trademark is a sign used to identify products or services. It is commonly associated with the ‘brand’ of a product or service and can include words, logos, symbols etc.
There are no formal requirements for creating a trademark. For example, when you start a new business- the business name, logo, symbol etc that identifies the brand of your business can be a trademark. You do not need to register a trademark for it to exist. However, with an unregistered trademark, you will be afforded much fewer rights and protections over that trademark than if you own a registered trademark. Is that a risk you are willing to take?
Unregistered or Registered Trademark
Registering a trademark gives the person who registers certain exclusive rights to the trademark, including the exclusive right to use the trademark, authorise others to use the trademark and the right to obtain compensation if the registrar’s rights to the trademark are infringed upon. The overarching benefit of registration is that it will greatly reduce the chances of somebody exploiting your brand by using identical or similar marks. If your trademark is registered, and if somebody else attempts to register an identical or similar mark, their registration with be rejected by IP Australia.
However, if you decide to take the risk and go forth with an unregistered trademark you are exposing yourself to a great deal of danger when it comes to protecting your brand’s good will. An opportunistic competitor may notice the success of your business and check to see whether your trademark is registered. If they discover that you have, in fact, not registered your trademark, they may proceed to establish their own business with a similar, perhaps almost identical trademark to yours. They may then formally register that trademark. When you discover that your brand has been exploited you’re clearly going to want to do whatever is necessary to prevent your competitor from continuing to conduct their ‘copycat’ business. However, as your trademark is unregistered, it is not likely you’ll be able to put a stop to your competitors business without lengthy court proceedings- which will cost you hours of time and thousands of dollars- and when the courts are faced with a decision between a registered trademark versus an unregistered trademark, the registered trademark will always have the advantage.
Unregistered or Registered Trademark
Therefore, if you find yourself hesitant to take the steps to register your trademark due to a desire to save time and money, don’t forget to consider the potential future consequences that may come with failing to register a trademark. If you do consider this, odds are you’ll quickly decide that registering your trademark now will protect you from the risk of losing an excessive amount of time and money at a later date.
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.