4 Important Intellectual Property Checks You Should Carry Out
Your business’ intellectual property (IP) is its most important asset, so you should take the necessary measures to protect it. This includes protecting your trade marks. A trade mark is a way that you can distinguish your goods or services from other businesses. Trade marks help increase the value of your brand and your business overall. A trade mark can take various forms, including a logo, phrase, jingle, packaging and more. There are several steps you can take before registering your trade mark to help protect your business’ IP. This article will take you through four important IP checks you should carry out.
1. Your Business’ Intellectual Property
Your business likely has a wealth of IP that you need to consider. An important IP check includes taking note of every potential trade mark your business has and determining which of those are worth registering. Registering trade marks can be a costly and lengthy process, so it is important that you do not register trade marks if it is not necessary.
Keeping track of your business’ IP is also a great way to know exactly which IP elements you should monitor, even for unregistered trade marks. Monitoring trade marks is important so you can identify any new trade marks that are similar or identical to yours. If you find a trade mark that is similar or identical to yours, you will be entitled to oppose its use formally. This can help protect your brand’s reputation and value.
2. Domain Names
Before you register a trade mark, you should check the availability of a domain name. It is important to remember that registering your business name as a trade mark does not automatically protect domain names or give you exclusive access to a domain name. Instead, you will need to obtain a license to use a domain name. You can do this through the Australian Domain Name Authority on a first-in, first-served basis. This means that it is important that you check that a domain name is available before you register a trade mark for your business name.
On the other hand, if someone licenses a domain name similar to or the same as your trade mark after your trade mark has been registered, you can submit a complaint to the Australian Domain Name Authority. Having a domain name consistent with your business name will help improve your brand’s value, making it important to carry out this IP check.
Note: you can only submit a complaint to the Australian Domain Name Authority regarding the ‘.au’ country code. This complaint process does not extend to other country codes or other top-level domains available for licensing through other organisations.
3. Australian Trade Mark Searches
Conducting a thorough Australian trade mark search is an essential IP check you should carry out. A thorough trade mark search will help you to see if somebody else has registered a trade mark, or if there is a trade mark similar to yours that might make it difficult to register your trade mark. You can conduct an Australian trade mark search using the free Australian Trade Marks Online Search System (ATMOSS). Doing a thorough search on ATMOSS will help reduce the chances of IP Australia rejecting your application, saving you both time and money during the trade mark registration process.
4. International Trade Mark Searches
As well as conducting an Australian trade mark search, you should consider conducting a thorough international trade mark search. While you might not have plans to expand your business overseas in the early stages of your business, you should think ahead and keep your options open. This is especially important if you are selling your products online internationally. Checking that your trade mark is available for use overseas will help avoid any trade mark disputes. For countries that are party to the Madrid System, an international system where you can apply for registration in several countries with just one application, you can search for trade marks using the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Global Brands Database. If the country you are trading in is not part of the Madrid System, you will need to search the country’s own trade mark database.
Your business’ IP is its most important asset, so you should protect it. This includes conducting several IP checks, including:
- checking your business’ IP;
- checking the availability of a domain name;
- conducting an Australian trade mark search; and
- conducting international trade mark searches.
If you have any questions regarding what intellectual property checks you should carry out or need trade mark legal assistance, our experienced trade mark lawyers can assist. Contact them at 1300 657 423 or by filling out the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
A trade mark protects and distinguishes your branding from other businesses. A trade mark can take many forms, such as a logo, phrase, song, or packaging. Trade marks are an important part of your business’ intellectual property, helping to increase the value of your brand and business overall.
There are many benefits of protecting your brand with a trade mark. A trade mark can help protect your brand’s reputation, give your business credibility, and increase the value of your brand’s assets. Having a registered trade mark also ensures that you are not infringing on someone else’s trade mark.
There are several intellectual property checks you should carry out. Firstly, you should check your business’ IP, noting every potential trade mark you have to consider whether you should register it or not. You should also consider the availability of a domain name for your business and conduct thorough Australian and international trade mark searches to ensure you are not infringing on someone else’s trade mark.