I Own a Supermarket. Should I Register a Trade Mark?
With thousands of supermarkets operating Australia wide, competition in the industry is fierce. Having your brand stand out amongst your competitors will help you establish your reputation in your community, therefore generating more sales.
The best way to help your brand stand out is to protect your store from trade mark infringement. One way that you can do this is by registering a trade mark for your brand assets. Trade mark registration gives you exclusive rights to the use of your trade mark, which will help you protect your brand and commercialise its intangible assets.
To help you better understand how to register a trade mark for your supermarket, this article will walk you through the key steps to obtaining trade mark registration for your supermarket.
1. Choose Your Trade Mark
Before you register a trade mark for your supermarket, you will need to consider your options for a trade mark. Usually, you should look to your most identifiable brand assets. This may include your:
- business name;
- song; or
- brand colours.
Depending on the nature of your supermarket, you may have certain assets that are a higher priority for registration than others.
For example, if you sell store-brand goods, you may want to consider registering the name or logo of your brand. Otherwise, you risk other supermarkets benefitting from your branding without your consent.
Alternatively, registering a trade mark for your supermarket name or logo might be the best option for you if these are your most identifiable assets. Ultimately, the most appropriate assets to trade mark will depend on your unique business needs.
2. Select Your Trade Mark Classes
When applying for a trade mark for your supermarket, you will need to select the trade mark classes most relevant to the goods or services you are providing. Trade mark classes refer to the 45 classes outlined in the Nice classification system. This comprises of 34 goods and 11 services. IP Australia, the trade mark protection body, will only protect your trade mark under the classes you register it under. Therefore, you must select the right trade mark classes when making your application.
For a supermarket, trade mark class 35 will perhaps be the most appropriate trade mark class. This trade mark class covers wholesale, retail and marketing services for food products, covering most supermarkets. Further, if you are selling home brand goods, you will need to consider several different trade mark classes in addition to this.
Suppose you sell store-brand flour at your supermarket. In that case, you will need to register your trade mark under trade mark class 30, which covers flour, sugar, rice and other food products. Further, you should also consider trade mark class 43, which covers food and drink services.
3. Apply for Registration
Once you have selected your trade mark and determined the relevant trade mark classes, you will need to apply for trade mark registration. To do so, you will need to make an application with IP Australia. IP Australia will assess your trade mark to determine if it meets the legislative requirements for trade mark registration.
If your trade mark meets the requirements, IP Australia will advertise it in the Offical Journal of Trade Marks. This provides an option for third parties to oppose your trade mark if they have concerns it infringes on their trade mark. If nobody objects to your trade mark, your trade mark will receive registration status and be placed on the register for 10 years.
Once your trade mark is registered, you will be able to take advantage of your exclusive trade mark rights. This includes preventing others from using your trade mark without your consent, giving you the best protection for your supermarket. It also provides you with the opportunity to commercialise your trade mark, meaning you can licence your trade marks to other supermarkets for additional profit.
Obtaining trade mark registration for your supermarket is an excellent way to protect your brand and help your supermarket stand out amongst your competitors. To obtain a registered trade mark for your supermarket, you will need to:
- consider what elements of your brand you should trade mark;
- select the most appropriate trade mark classes; and
- make a trade mark application.
Frequently Asked Questions
A trade mark is an excellent way to protect your brand. A trade mark gives you exclusive rights to the use of your brand, which enables you to prevent others from using your trade mark without your consent.
Trade marks can take many forms. They may be your business name, logo, slogan, song or colours. For example, if you sell home brand goods, you may want to consider registering the name or logo of your home brand. Alternatively, you may wish to trade mark your supermarket name or logo.