Benefits of a Trade Mark for Your YouTube Channel Name
Building up a following on YouTube takes countless hours and a lot of effort. For this very reason, you want to make sure that the brand you have worked hard to establish has protection from being copied by others. This article outlines how a registered trade mark can protect your YouTube channel name and three benefits of applying for a registered trade mark.
What Are Trade Marks?
Trade marks are a form of intellectual property protection that protect the features of a brand that make it distinguishable. Typically, business owners can trade mark their names, logos or catchphrases. In the same vein, YouTubers can trade mark their channel names, a channel identified by a specific logo or a distinguishable catchphrase.
In Australia, intellectual property law recognises the existence of both unregistered and registered trade marks. Unregistered trade marks typically carry the ‘™’ symbol, whereas registered trade marks can carry the reserved symbol ‘®’. However, you should note that unregistered trade marks are not as comprehensively protected under the law as are registered trade marks. This is because IP Australia approves registered trade marks and maintains a database containing all registered trade marks in Australia.
1. Protection Against Misuse
Owners of a registered trade mark have the exclusive right to use, licence and sell their trade mark. This means that in the instance where someone else adopts a similar or identical mark concerning similar goods or services, they would be infringing on your exclusive rights. You would have the legal means to stop them from committing further infringements.
For example, if you owned the trade mark to your YouTube channel name ‘Drew’s Reviews’ and another person started a similar channel titled ‘Drew’s Reviewz’, the other person would likely be committing trade mark infringement.
Given the potential damage or confusion that is likely to arise due to a misappropriation of your YouTube account’s name, it is worth protecting your brand from being copied by obtaining a trade mark for your channel name.
Trade marks play an integral part in building brand recognition for your YouTube account. This is because trade marks protect the features of a business’ brand from misappropriation by others. As a result, a YouTube channel name that you have registered as a trade mark can maintain its distinguishable identity since others cannot simply misappropriate the name without facing legal consequences. In this way, you can focus on building brand recognition without fear that someone else will copy your channel name.
3. Increasing Your Channel’s Value
Many people are unaware of the commercial benefits of owning a registered trade mark. For many businesses, their IP is quickly becoming one of their most valuable assets. By registering a trade mark for your YouTube channel name, you open yourself up to different commercial opportunities, such as licencing your channel name or eventually selling your channel name.
Licencing is where a trade mark owner (the licensor) agrees to let another person (the licensee) use their trade mark subject to certain conditions. A licence agreement will set out the conditions upon which the licensee can use the trade mark, the time period in which they can use the trade mark and any relevant fees associated with the licence. For example, you may licence your YouTube channel name to a co-creator if you decide to make a sub-channel that is separate from your main channel. When you licence your trade mark, you do not lose ownership of your trade mark. Rather, you only agree to let someone else use your trade mark.
If the time comes to sell your YouTube channel, your channel name’s trade mark will be a valuable asset that you should include in the sale price. Whilst the value of a trade mark is not concrete, it usually represents the value of your channel’s goodwill and reputation. In this sense, the greater the reputation your channel has gained, the more valuable your trade mark is likely to be.
When you sell a trade mark, you must undergo the process of ‘assignment’. Put simply, an assignment of a trade mark is the process of notifying IP Australia that there has been a change in the trade mark’s ownership. Once you have fully assigned your trade mark, you are no longer the owner of the trade mark. Therefore, you do not enjoy the exclusive rights attached to the trade mark.
Trade marks can protect the features of your YouTube channel that make it distinguishable. Owning the trade mark to your YouTube channel name will allow you to:
- protect your name from other YouTubers copying it;
- build brand recognition; and
- increase the value of your channel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Once you obtain a domain name, you only have a licence to use the name. To further protect your domain name from being copied, you can apply for a registered trade mark. However, you should note that a trade mark you register with IP Australia is only protected in Australia.
YouTube videos are automatically protected by copyright once they are uploaded. This means that in Australia, you do not have to apply to register for copyright.