Protecting your intellectual property (IP) can be an important part of your business’ success. Trade marks are not just logos; sounds, actions, words, or even smells can be registered as a trade mark if it is integral to the recognition of your goods and services. Registering a trade mark will give you the exclusive right to use, sell and license the mark.
Not all intellectual property is a trade mark. It may be more appropriate for you to apply for a design right or patent. Examples of well-known Australian registered trade marks include the Toyota “jump” and the Qantas kangaroo.
Your IP can be a valuable asset and may even need to be insured.
Choosing your Trade Mark
Trade marks are registered nationally through IP Australia. Your trade mark needs to be sufficiently different from trade marks that have already been registered. You can search the trade mark database here: ATMOSS or by searching through the IP Australia webpage.
Your trade mark cannot use common names, words or symbols that should remain available for everyone to use. For example, South Australian Grapes could not be trade marked as other grape growers need to be able to identify that their grapes are from South Australia without infringing a registered trade mark.
Registering Your Trade Mark
Once you have identified your trade mark you will need to identify under which class of goods and services your trade mark will be registered. The list of classes can be found on the IP Australia website.
Your application will be assessed under the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth). The application can be submitted online through the IP Australia web-site and although the online process only takes about 15 minutes, a great deal of preparation must go in to collating the information for your application. Be careful; once your application is submitted, you cannot change it! Once registered the trade mark can carry the registration notation of ®.
If your application does not meet the requirements of the Act then the application will be rejected. If the application is rejected, the assessor may issue you with an Examination Report which gives you the opportunity to provide further evidence in support of your application and to address the assessor’s concerns.
Use It or Lose It!
Another party may apply to have your trade mark removed from the register if it appears that the trade mark is not in use. This will occur where the other party wants to register a trade mark which is the same or similar to your trade mark.
Your trade mark registration lasts 10 years after which time you can renew the registration or allow it to expire.
Get some help
Compiling the right information for your application can be tricky. Georgiadis Lawyers can help you prepare your application and provide you with advice about protecting your IP.