3 Steps to Receiving a Trade Mark for Your Medical Practice
As a provider of such essential services, having a good reputation is critical to the success of your medical practice. Having a trade mark is one way to ensure that your medical practice’s brand is suitably protected. It will also help prevent your medical practice from being confused with any competitor medical practices, helping you to stand out from the rest. To help you with the process, this article will take you through three of the key steps to receiving a trade mark for your medical practice.
1. Choose Your Trade Mark
Before you register a trade mark for your medical practice, you will need to decide what your trade mark will be. Your trade mark can take many forms. Most likely, this will be your practice’s:
- slogan; or
- any combination of the above.
Once you have decided on your trade mark, you will need to ensure it meets the legislative requirements for a trade mark. Trade marks must not include any commonly used words, phrases or images. This means it will be difficult to trade mark an image with the Caduceus symbol in it because other medal practices need access to this common symbol.
You will also have to avoid geographical words or words that attest to the quality of your medical practice. Due to this, a trade mark like ‘Sydney’s Best Doctors’ will be a difficult trade mark to register.
2. Select Your Trade Mark Class
When applying for a trade mark for your medical practice, you will need to select a trade mark class. Trade mark classes refer to the categories of different products or services available for trade mark registration.
Australia uses the internationally recognised Nice classification system, which comprises 45 categories broken down into 34 goods and 11 services. Your trade mark will only be protected under the classes you apply for registration under, so you must select the right trade mark class.
For a medical practice, class 44 is likely to be the most relevant. Trade mark class 44 includes medical care, veterinary services, and beauty care or alternative medicine. More specifically, it includes hospital and telemedicine services, as well as medical clinics and medical analysis services. It is possible to apply under more than one trade mark class, so you should carefully search the trade mark class options available for registration.
3. Apply for Registration
Once you have chosen your trade mark and determined that it is available for use, you should apply to register your trade mark. To make an application, you will have to apply through Australia’s intellectual property (IP) office, IP Australia. Once you have made your application, including paying the applicable fees, IP Australia will add your trade mark to the pile for examination. IP Australia will determine whether your trade mark meets the legislative requirements for trade marks.
Once IP Australia decides that your trade mark meets the requirements, they will place your trade mark in the Official Journal of Trade Marks. This will provide an opportunity for a third party, such as a competitor business, to oppose your trade mark registration if they have concerns it will infringe on their trade mark. If this does not occur, your trade mark will be registered and placed on the trade mark registration for 10 years.
Obtaining a trade mark for your medical practice is an excellent way to protect your medical practice’s brand. The three key steps to obtaining a trade mark for your medical practice are:
- choose your trade mark carefully;
- select your trade mark class; and
- apply for trade mark registration.
Frequently Asked Questions
A trade mark is an excellent way to protect your brand. For businesses providing such important services such as medical care, reputation is essential to success. A trade mark can help protect your brand by giving you exclusive rights to its use and preventing others from using your trade mark.
The key steps for obtaining a trade mark include selecting a trade mark that meets the legislative requirements, ensuring you have chosen the most relevant trade mark classes for your trade mark and applying for trade mark registration with IP Australia.