4 Steps to Trade Mark Your Instagram Name
Whether you are an Instagram influencer or using Instagram as a marketing platform for your business, you might be wondering how you can protect your name. To help protect your brand and have it stand out, you should consider registering a trade mark. This article will guide you through the four key steps to register your Instagram name as a trade mark.
1. Consider the Trade Mark Requirements
Before applying for a trade mark for your Instagram name, you need to consider whether you meet the trade mark requirements or whether you are breaching a requirement. We outline some of these requirements below:
A trade mark cannot be descriptive. This means it cannot describe the quality, purpose, or other descriptive characteristics of the goods or services for which it is being used. If your Instagram name is overtly descriptive of the goods or services it is being used to promote, you may find it difficult to register a trade mark.
Trade marks cannot utilise any word or phrase that other businesses in the same industry commonly use. It would be unfair for one business to have a monopoly on such words or phrases. Therefore, suppose your Instagram name is describing a particular good or service you are selling and it is reflective of common industry words. In this case, you may find it difficult to successfully apply for trade mark registration.
You may find it difficult if you are trying to register a trade mark for your name. Common names or surnames will be hard to register. This is because others with the same name should be able to use their own name freely. This requirement will be easier to satisfy if you have a unique name.
Additionally, geographic names may be challenging to register. For geographical names, certain locations have become renowned for producing specific goods or services. Therefore, if your Instagram utilises the name of a location for a certain good or service, this may be difficult to register.
Restricted and Prohibited Words
Words, phrases, or symbols restricted by legislation cannot be registered as a trade mark. A common example of this includes restricted words relating to the banking and financial services industry, such as ‘bank’ or ‘banking’, as these trade marks are limited to use by authorised deposit-taking institutions.
Further, member states to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (which includes Australia) must refuse and invalidate a number of protected signs and symbols from trade mark registration, including certain flags and symbols.
Registered Trade Marks
Trade marks that are identical or deceptively similar to a trade mark that is already registered or pending will likely receive an initial objection. This means it may be difficult to register a trade mark similar to an existing one if you operate within the same class of goods or services.
2. Select Your Trade Mark Class
Once you have determined that your Instagram name meets the trade mark requirements, you will need to select the relevant trade mark class. Trade mark classes are 45 different categories of goods and services that you can register your trade mark under.
The trade mark classes you select are important because IP Australia will only protect your trade mark under the classes and goods/services you have registered.
The trade mark classes most relevant to you will depend on how you use your Instagram. For example, if your Instagram is used for marketing an online business, you should apply under the trade mark classes suitable for this business. However, if you are an Instagram influencer, such that you are your own business, you may want to consider trade mark class 41, which covers entertainment services.
3. Conduct a Trade Mark search
Before applying for trade mark registration for your Instagram name, you should conduct a trade mark search. This will help you see if identical or similar trade marks to your proposed trade mark may prevent you from registering yours.
However, this is unlikely to be a problem if a similar or identical trade mark exists that has nothing to do with the product or service that your proposed trade mark is used for. For example, if you are an influencer, and you share your Instagram name with a registered trade mark in the car repair industry, they can likely coexist. This is because your industries are so different that customers are unlikely to confuse your businesses.
This is one of the main reasons why trade mark classes are so important. They allow similar trade marks to co-exist where consumers will not be confused about the origin of each trade mark.
IP Australia has a free trade mark search tool, the Australian Trade Mark Search. You can use this to conduct a trade mark search for your Instagram name.
4. Apply for Registration
Once you have determined that your trade mark is available and considered which goods/services you intend to use it for, you will need to register with IP Australia. IP Australia will determine whether your trade mark meets all the requirements. If it does, they will place it in the Official Journal of Trade Marks. This will provide an opportunity for a third party, such as a competitor, to oppose your trade mark registration if they have concerns of a possible conflict. If there are no issues, IP Australia will register your trade mark for an initial 10 year period.
Whether you are an Instagram influencer or using Instagram as a marketing platform for your business, a trade mark is an excellent tool to protect your brand. Some key steps to register a trade mark for your Instagram name include:
- consider the trade mark requirements;
- select your trade mark classes;
- conduct a trade mark search; and
- apply for trade mark registration.
Frequently Asked Questions
A trade mark is a great way to protect your brand, helping you position yourself as reputable and stand out in a competitive market. This is particularly important for social media influencers, whose brand is at the very core of their business.
You will need to undertake four key steps to obtain a trade mark for your Instagram name. This includes ensuring your Instagram name meets the legislative requirements, considering which trade mark classes are most suitable for you, conducting a trade mark search and making a valid trade mark application.