I have a registered business name so I don’t need a trade mark, right? Wrong.
Registering a business name does not give a business the exclusive right to use that name. Only a trade mark does that.
So what does my Business Name Registration get me?
Registering a business name merely provides a way to identify the person behind the business. It does not provide you with any intellectual property rights to use that name.
This means that another business can still use your business name so long as they do not attempt to register it. They may also try to use your business name as a brand name or as a trading name.
You need to Trade Mark It
If you really want to protect your business name in the best possible way, you should register it as a trade mark.
Once it is registered, you will have exclusive rights to use that trade mark in Australia. This means that others cannot use a name that is substantially identical or deceptively similar to your business name.
The protection afforded by registering your business name is both proactive and reactive. Others cannot register an infringing trade mark and you have the opportunity to oppose their trade mark registration. You will also have greater rights to stop infringing conduct. In addition to the above claims, you may also have a claim under the Trade Mark Act.
So What can I Trade Mark?
As well as trademarking your business name, you may consider trademarking your logo and any brand or trading names. This will provide you with even more protection and we find that registering a logo is a great source of protection. This will allow you to take action against another business if their logo is similar when considering its colours, shapes, styles etc.
Interestingly, you may even trade mark a colour so long as it acts as a badge of origin for your goods or services.
How Much does Trade Mark Registration Cost?
Trade mark registration is relatively inexpensive for the level of protection it affords you. There are two charges associated with registration, the first are charges payable to IP Australia and the second are legal fees payable to the lawyer who lodges the trade mark on your behalf. The cost of each trade mark will depend on how many classes of goods or services the trade mark is registered for.
Once the trade mark is registered, it will be registered for 10 years during which time no further fees will apply. At the conclusion of the 10 years, you may pay a renewal fee and have the trade mark renewed for a further 10 years, and continue to do so.
Given the increase in business name disputes, we strongly recommend protecting the brand of your business through the best means available, being trade mark registration.
If you have any questions regarding trade marks, business names or the best way to protect your brand please contact Alex Martin on 9481 2000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.