5 Mistakes to Avoid When Registering a Trade Mark as a Jeweller
As a jeweller, you will likely want to register a jewellery trade mark to protect your intellectual property and make your brand more recognisable. However, many jewellers fail to maximise their brand value when registering a trade mark with IP Australia, Australia’s trade mark registration body. Instead, they make simple mistakes that damage a trade mark’s exclusivity and originality. Many businesses fall into these traps because they do not know the basic requirements of trade mark registration. Therefore, it is important that you understand trade mark law and how to register an eligible trade mark for your jewellery brand. This will help you ensure you make the most out of copyright protection.
This article will show you how to avoid some of the common mistakes that jewellers make when registering a trade mark.
Applying for a Non-Unique Trade Mark
The trade mark of your jewellery company must be distinct. This means that it must be different from other trade marks and capable of uniquely identifying your business.
There are some things to keep in mind when trying to create a distinctive trade mark. IP Australia will reject a trade mark application that only describes a company’s products or services. This could include slogans like ‘Australia’s best jewellery’. Other businesses, such as jewellery designers, will need to use this phrase, so it is unlikely that IP Australia will approve it as a trade mark.
Your business should use random or imaginative terms or phrases to distinguish your intellectual property from other products or services on the market.
Failing to Register a Trade Mark
You may be simply using the ™ sign next to your branding instead of registering a trade mark. This is a mistake, as registered trade marks have significantly more copyright protection than unregistered trade marks. In particular, with a registered trade mark you will have much greater protection if copyright infringement occurs.
For example, imagine that another jeweller files a trade mark application for the same trade mark. In this case, that business will likely receive formal copyright protection, making it difficult for you to keep your unregistered trade mark.
Not Knowing What Intention to Use Applications Are
You do not have to be using a trade mark to apply to protect it. You can also lodge what is known as an ‘intention to use’ application. This will protect a trade mark from being registered before you are able to use it. To do this, you need to lodge a trade mark application with IP Australia and provide evidence of your intended future use of the trade mark. You should note that this will also mean a competing jeweller may protect a trade mark from being registered by another party before you can register for one. Therefore, you should look into intention to use applications to protect your intellectual property against copyright infringement.
Not Applying in the Right Trade Mark Class
Each trade mark application must fall under a trade mark class of goods or services. You will usually register their jewellery trade marks under class 14. Class 14 includes:
- precious metals and alloys;
- objects made of or coated with precious metals (that are not included in other groups of jewellery);
- precious stones;
- horological devices; and
- chronometric devices (watches).
Often, businesses forget to correctly identify the categories of goods or services the brand belongs to. Therefore, you must define the correct category as your trade mark will only have protection under the trade mark class you select. Additionally, you cannot add a trade mark class after registration. Instead, the only alternative is to submit a whole new application, which is inconvenient since it wastes time and money.
Relying on Geographical Signs or Descriptions
It is difficult for you to register a trade mark that is descriptive or that incorporates a geographical indicator. Therefore, a trade mark must not rely on a geographic location.
For example, geographical indicators that tell you where something is from, such as ‘Sri Lankan Sapphires,’ are hard to register. In addition, IP Australia may reject this trade mark because other businesses will also need to identify the origin of their products.
Before deciding to register your trade mark as a jeweller, you should consider:
- whether your trade mark is unique;
- how you will benefit from formal protection;
- whether you are using your trade mark;
- whether you are applying in the correct trade mark class; and
- if you are relying on geographical signs without valid reason.
Frequently Asked Questions
Generally, the best class to file a trade mark application under is trade mark class 14.
If you use your mark in trade through the course of your business, then it is likely that you have used the trade mark in commerce.