What is a Trade Mark?
A trade mark is a sign that distinguishes goods and services in the market. Your trade mark can be a word, phrase, letter, number, sound, smell, shape, logo picture, aspect of packaging and/or a combination of these.
Why Register a Trade Mark?
Build Value: Trade marks build up value in your business by providing an asset that is registered with the Australian government.
Secure Your Business: Registered trade marks stop competitors from stealing your business by preventing them from copying you and trading off your reputation. Your competitors are therefore unable to benefit from your hard work.
Protect Your Reputation: Stopping and preventing competitors from trading off your reputation can result in more sales growth and opportunities for your business.
Cost Effective: Registration lasts for 10 years and covers the whole of Australia.
Australia Trade Marks
Registration of an Australian trade mark gives the registered owner exclusive rights to use of the trade mark throughout Australia. It also provides the owner with the right to take legal action against another person/company which uses a mark that is the same or substantially the same and covers the same or closely related goods/services for which the owner’s mark is registered.
Trade Mark Research
Before settling on a trade mark to register, select a range of possible trade marks or logos which you think could be appropriate. This should generally be followed by a thorough search of the Trade Marks Office database and other goods and services existing in the market place to ensure that you will not be infringing any existing trade marks.
An application to IP Australia must include the following:
> A representation of the trade mark;
> Nomination of the relevant classes;
> Description of the goods and/or services to which it will apply; and
> A translation of any part of your mark if it is in another language.
A trade mark will take a minimum of 8 months to become fully registered. Registration is for a period of 10 years and at the end of that time, it will then be necessary to apply for that registration to be renewed.
Trade Mark Symbols
The ™ symbol generally means ‘trade mark pending’. You are allowed to use this symbol whilst your trade mark is being examined, up until the point that it becomes registered. Once your trade mark becomes fully registered, you may then change this symbol to an ® which will indicate that you have a fully registered trade mark.
Trade Mark Classes
Goods and services are divided into different classes according to the NICE International classification system. There are presently 34 classes of goods and 11 classes of services. When applying to register a trade mark, you need to decide in which classes you wish to protect your trade mark.
We are happy to discuss with you the best class of coverage for your mark at no additional charge to you.
International Trade Marks
Australia joined the Madrid Protocol relating to international registration of trade marks on 11 July 2001. The Protocol provides Australians with a simpler and less expensive way of seeking trade mark protection overseas and presents several advantages to applicants seeking protection in any of the contracting states.
The advantages to using the Madrid Protocol system include:
Only a single international application is required;
It is in one language, English, Spanish or French;
It is filed through the Trade Marks Office of the home country; and
Protection can be sought in one, some or all of the other member countries.