A trade mark is, in summary, a sign (e.g. a letter, word, name, number, brand, logo, aspect of packaging, shape, colour, sound or scent) that is used to distinguish the goods or services of a trader from those of others.
Before you decide upon your brand (which may consist of a letter, word, name, number, logo, aspect of packaging, shape, colour, sound or scent) and launch it (including before you register your domain name) a trade mark availability search should be conducted by a professional to determine whether there are any existing registered or unregistered rights which may exist in similar brands.
The mere registration of your company name or business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) does not protect your brand identity, or provide registered trade mark rights in your brand. Registration with ASIC is a legal obligation. However, registration as a trade mark with the Australian Trade Marks Office can provide your business with:
- an exclusive statutory monopoly to use your registered brand identity in respect of the goods and/or services for which it is registered in Australia;
- an easy way to prevent cybersquatting (the registration of a domain name which incorporates your brand by others);
- much easier and cheaper enforcement of your rights in your brand if someone else infringes your rights, for example, by using a brand which is either substantially identical or deceptively similar to your brand in respect of the same or similar goods and/or services; and
- a registered “asset” which can be licensed, assigned, and monetised.
Only registered trade marks can apply the ® symbol. This puts others on notice that your brand is registered, and that you are likely to prosecute infringement.
Visit our trade marks page for further information about how our Sydney lawyers can assist you at fixed fee rates with trade mark registrations and associated advice.