What is a trade mark?
A trade mark indicates a connection in the course of business between a trader and its goods and/or services. A trade mark allows consumers to recognise goods or services as originating from a particular trade source.
A trade mark may take many forms. These include a word, a name, a logo, a combination of a word and a logo, a letter, a signature, a numeral, an aspect of packaging, a colour, a sound or combinations of any of these.
To work effectively, a trade mark should be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of a trader from those of other traders. In order words, the trade mark should preferably have some distinctiveness or special features associated with it.
Why register a trade mark?
It is possible to register a trade mark with IP Australia (the Australian Trade Marks Office) to obtain the exclusive right to the trade mark in Australia.
Whilst it is not compulsory to register a trade mark, there are many benefits of trade mark registration. The registered owner of a trade mark has the exclusive right to use the trade mark in Australia for the goods or services covered by the registration. The registered owner has the right to stop unauthorised use of the trade mark (or similar variations thereof) for goods and services covered by the registration, as well as for similar goods or services.
Once a trade mark is registered, it may be renewed indefinitely for 10 year periods. Thus, a trade mark can become a valuable asset of a business that can be licensed or sold.
How do I register my trade mark?
Janet Stead & Associates have experienced trade mark attorneys who can advise you on how to protect your trade marks.
For a trade mark to be registrable, it needs to meet certain requirements. These include:
Therefore, words or devices that are usually suitable for trade mark registration are:
- the trade mark must generally not be a word or logo that is directly descriptive of the goods or services of interest; and
- the trade mark must generally not be a common surname or a geographical place (if the place has significance for the goods or services of interest).
Please note that where a trade mark has been used for a period of time (even though it has not been registered), special provisions may apply to allow the trade mark to be registered.
- words or logos that are distinctive, that is, they have no meaning that could be descriptive of the goods or services of interest;
- invented words; or
- words or logos that have become distinctive through extensive use of the trade mark in Australia (even though the trade mark would not usually be considered registrable).
If you are considering adopting a new trade mark, we are able to advise you as to whether your trade mark would be available for your use and registration in Australia.
Our trade mark attorneys are able to help you prepare and file a trade mark application once we have information concerning the nature of your trade mark, the goods and/or services that are of interest to you, and the owner of the trade mark.
Please contact us for further advice concerning details of the procedures for trade mark registration and the associated costs.