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Trademarks: Do you need one? How will it benefit your business? Posted on October 9, 2018
This month, Senior Accountant Michael James looks at some of the reasons why you would register a trademark name or logo for your business.
1. Securing Exclusivity
Registering your trademark doesn’t have to be a costly and timely exercise – and it is the easiest way to ensure legal exclusivity for the use of your name or logo etc.
Registering your trademark significantly reduces the risk of being prevented from using your name or logo being used by other traders. Until you have trademarked your brand name or logo you don’t exclusively own it.
This means you could receive a “cease and desist” letter from a lawyer which requires you to stop using the name which you thought you owned.
2. Geographical Coverage
Registering your trademark usually gives you nation-wide protection, instead of rights that are restricted to the specific areas or regions in which you trade. You can also trade in all states and territories within Australia, which means you don’t have to register a business name in every state.
If you decide to expand overseas, being trademarked in Australia will make it easy to get trading names and potentially international trademarks.
3. Deterring and Preventing Others
Trademark registration deters other traders from using trademarks that are similar or identical to yours in relation to goods and services like yours (referred as “conflicting trademarks”).
This benefit means many things:
a. Before other traders choose their brand names:
Being able to use the ® symbol puts others on notice of your rights, and being registered means that others can find your trademark when searching the official register before choosing to commence using a particular name. This makes it much less likely that they’ll choose to use a conflicting mark in the first place.
b. When other traders seek to register their brand names as trademarks:
Having your trademark on the register makes it likely that trademark examiners will refuse to register conflicting marks. If (despite this) another trader is able to convince a trademark examiner to accept the mark for registration, having a prior registered mark gives you a strong right to oppose the registration before it’s officially entered on the register.
c. When you discover another trader using a conflicting mark in the market place:
Having a registered trademark makes it much easier, quicker and cheaper for you to prevent other traders from using conflicting trademarks. Often one or two “cease and desist” letters from your lawyer will be sufficient, but if it is not, the process of taking someone to court under the Trade Marks Act 1995 is much less expensive than the options for owners of unregistered trademarks.
4. Protecting yourself from Infringement Claims
Under the Trade Marks Act 1995 if you’re using a registered trademark you have a complete defense should a second person sue for infringing their registered trademark. As long as you are using your trademark you can’t infringe on others.
5. Controlling the Use of your Brand by Others
Registering your trademark makes it a lot safer and easier to license the use of your trademark to others (e.g. manufacturers, distributors, franchisees etc.).
6. Increasing Business Value
Holding a registered trademark significantly increases the value of your brand to potential purchasers, and hence any purchaser of your business is likely to pay much more for the goodwill that you build up.
7. Securing the Co-operation of Third Parties
Registered trademark owners are much more likely to secure the co-operation of third parties in the protection of their rights. This includes:
a. Other Traders:
For example, Google will act to prevent traders from bidding on “key words” that contain your registered trademark. Social networks and other internet sites may remove or reclaim user names that infringe your registered trademark;
b. Australian Customs Service:
Allows you to give notice to the Australian Customs Service and object to the importation of goods which infringe your registered rights;
If you would like to know more about registering a trademark for your business and protecting your intellectual property, click here.