How Difficult Is It to Register a Trade Mark?
Trade marks are a critical element of any business, ensuring that your business is known to consumers and competitors alike. In addition, a trade mark provides excellent legal protection, ensuring you have exclusive use of your trade mark.
With all the excellent benefits of a trade mark, you may be wondering how to register your trade mark and how difficult that process is. To help you better understand trade marks, this article will take you through what a trade mark is, how difficult it is to register your trade mark and things you can do to make this process easier.
What is a Trade Mark?
A trade mark is a legal and marketing tool that gives you exclusive use to your brand assets. In turn, this can help further your brand reputation and make your brand stand out in the competitive market. A trade mark may exist in a multitude of forms, including a:
- packaging shape;
- colour; or
- any combination of the above.
Essentially, any element of your brand has the potential to be a trade mark.
How Difficult is it to Register a Trade Mark?
Noting the benefits of trade marks and the broad scope of what a trade mark could be, you might be wondering how difficult it is to register a trade mark.
The trade mark process itself can be long and complex, which can make it seem intimidating. However, as long as your trade mark is distinctive, it will be eligible for trade mark registration.
The key steps of trade mark registration include first checking that your trade mark is available for use. If a trade mark identical or deceptively similar to yours, it will not be available for use. This is because your trade mark will not be distinctive. If you have determined your trade mark is eligible, you must apply for trade mark registration. This process requires you to provide the details of your business and your trade mark to Australia’s IP office, IP Australia. IP Australia will then determine if your trade mark meets the requirements of a trade mark.
To aid with your trade mark application, there are several measures you can take to increase your chances of success. You can find three key ways to make the trade mark registration process more seamless below:
1. Choose a Strong Trade Mark
Choosing a strong trade mark is one way to make the trade mark process easier. This will also avoid potential trade mark infringement disputes in the future. One way to ensure your trade mark is strong is to make your trade mark completely unique. You should avoid generic, descriptive and common words when selecting your trade mark.
2. Conduct a Search
A trade mark search is a critical step in the trade mark process. A trade mark search will help to determine if your trade mark is available for use. This can help reduce the chance that IP Australia rejects your trade mark application. You can conduct a free, comprehensive trade mark search using the ATMOSS search tool.
3. Seek Professional Assistance
Seeking the assistance of a trade mark professional as early as possible can assist with your trade mark application. A trade mark professional can offer you advice on what trade mark will be the strongest, how to best conduct a trade mark search and the best ways to apply for the trade mark yourself. A trade mark professional can also have more long term benefits, including assisting with your long term trade mark strategy.
It is not difficult to register a trade mark if you follow all the steps properly and have a strong trade mark. Some of the key ways you can avoid difficulties with registering a trade mark are to:
- choose a strong trade mark;
- conduct a thorough trade mark search; and
- seek professional assistance if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
A trade mark is one form of intellectual property (IP) protection that helps your brand stand out from all of your competitors, ensuring your brand is unique and not copied by others. A trade mark can protect your IP from a legal perspective and serve a unique marketing purpose by increasing the value of your business assets.
The trade mark process can be long and complex. However, if your trade mark meets all the legislative requirements and your trade mark application is thorough, the process should be a straightforward one. Some of the key ways you can make it easier to register a trade mark include choosing a strong trade mark, conducting a thorough trade mark search and seeking professional assistance if needed.