When Should I Apply for a Trade Mark?
When establishing your business, your brand should be at the forefront of your mind. A good brand helps your brand reputation, which in turn generates more business. To help protect your brand, you should obtain legal protection over its assets. In particular, you should seek protection over your business’ intellectual property (IP). One way to protect your IP is to seek trade mark registration over your brand elements. If you are in the early stages of business development, you might be wondering if you have the right to apply for a trade mark. However, the early business development stage is the best time to apply for a trade mark.
To help you better understand trade mark registration, this article will take you through why applying for a trade mark in the early business development stage is the best time to apply for a trade mark. It will also explain the TM Headstart system, which is useful for businesses who are considering trade mark registration but are unsure of their eligibility.
The Best Time to Apply for a Trade Mark
The best time to apply for a trade mark is as soon as possible. While a seemingly obvious answer, there are a number of reasons applying for a trade mark as early as possible will benefit your business. Where possible, it is best to apply for a trade mark in the early business development stage.
For businesses in their early stages, it can be difficult to see the benefits of applying for a trade mark. After all, if you are only in the planning stage, what would be the point? However, it is important to consider that the trade mark process is long and can be complex. Even when the process is as smooth as possible, the time from application to registration can take several months. Therefore, applying for a trade mark as early as possible can help prevent future delays, ensuring that your business’ IP is protected when the rest of your business is ready to go.
Advantages of Applying for a Trade Mark Early
There are several advantages to applying for a trade mark as early as possible. Some of the key benefits of applying for trade mark registration in the early business development stage include:
1. Avoiding Redesigning Your Brand
If you are in the early stage of business development, chances are you are working hard to design your brand. Registering a trade mark for elements of your brand can help you avoid redesigning your brand in the future, which can be costly in both money and time.
Once you have applied for your trade mark, IP Australia will examine your trade mark. Additionally, other parties will be able to oppose your trade mark if they consider it infringes on their trade mark. If your trade mark meets all the requirements, it will be placed on the trade mark register. However, if your trade mark infringes on someone else’s trade mark, your application will be rejected. As a result, you may have to redesign your brand. Therefore, knowing as early as possible if IP Australia will accept your trade mark can help save you both time and money in the long term.
2. Preventing Trade Mark Infringement
Having your trade mark registered as early as possible can help prevent trade mark infringement. This is because once your trade mark is registered, you have exclusive rights to your trade mark. Any other businesses who then use a trade mark that is similar or identical to yours will be infringing on your exclusive rights. With trade mark registration, you have streamlined access to preventing such infringement.
By having these exclusive rights as early as possible, you can:
- begin to build up your brand reputation earlier; and
- avoid infringement disputes, which can be both damaging and expensive.
What is TM Headstart?
TM Headstart is IP Australia’s early assessment tool. When you apply to TM Headstart, IP Australia will assess your trade mark and indicate if your trade mark is likely to meet the registration requirements. The process takes five days to assess your trade mark.
TM Headstart is one way to check if your trade mark will be registered without committing to the process. This is a useful route for those in the early stage of business development, committed to their trade mark but still uncertain about the process.
While TM Headstart costs slightly more than just applying for a trade mark, it can help save you money in the long run by checking that your trade mark will meet the registration requirements.
You should apply for a trade mark is as early as possible. In particular, the best time to apply for a trade mark is in the early business development stage. Some of the advantages of this are:
- avoiding redesigning your brand; and
- preventing trade mark infringement.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best time to apply for a trade mark is as early as possible. This is because the trade mark registration process can take several months. To prevent potential delays in the future, the earlier you can apply for a trade mark, the better.
There are several benefits of applying for a trade mark early. Primarily, applying for a trade mark early can help protect your brand from trade mark infringement before your business is even up and running. Being at the centre of a trade mark dispute can damage your reputation and may require you to rebrand. Trade mark registration, which gives you exclusive rights to your trade mark, can help prevent these issues.