What are the benefits of trade mark registration?
The most effective way to protect your name or logo is through trade mark registration. A trade mark registration gives you the exclusive right to use the trade mark to promote or sell your goods or services. With a registered trade mark, you can also legally prevent other traders from using your mark, or similar marks, without your consent. The registration is valid Australia-wide for 10 years, which may be renewed indefinitely.
Common law trade marks
A trade mark may exist without a registration. However, these unregistered “common law” trade marks provide a very limited scope of protection based on an established reputation and are often restricted to a very specific geographic area, such as a particular suburb.
Enforcement of your common law trade mark rights is expensive and time consuming. Registration of your trade mark allow for much easier and less expensive enforcement of your rights against other parties. Often all that is required is a letter from your trade mark attorney or lawyer detailing your registration and pointing out the trade mark infringement.
Business name is not proprietary
A business name is the name under which a business operates. Its function is to allow others to identify the business. Unlike a trade mark, a business name registration does not give you a proprietary right.
The registered trade mark symbol ®
The ® symbol pertains only to trade marks that are registered, and to use it in respect of an unregistered mark is unlawful. The ™ symbol may be used on any trade mark, whether registered or not, to indicate that you are intending to use your name/logo/packaging as a trade mark.
Protecting your mark
It is your responsibility to ensure that your mark is not being infringed by another party. IP Australia does not monitor trade mark use. If you discover that your mark is being used without your permission you should contact your trade mark attorney or lawyer and take action against the other party.