5 Trade Mark Tips for Tourism Brands From a Lawyer
As a tourism operator, you want to protect your valuable brand from competitors. Tourism operators rely heavily on distinct, deliberate and explicit advertising online, in newspapers and on television. Ensuring you maintain a good reputation is critical. You can maintain and protect your brand by ensuring that you have adequate and appropriate trade mark protection as early as possible. If you are a tourism operator, this article will explore some of the key considerations to make to protect your tourism brand.
Tip #1: Limit Geographical Words
It may be tempting to include the location that you are operating your tourism business or brand from. However, geographical words can be difficult to trade mark. Geographical words are generally unable to be trade marked, allowing people to use place names freely without other people preventing them from doing so in the general marketplace.
If you receive a geographical trade mark, the trade mark examiner might limit your use of the trade mark to your geographical region. For example, if you ran Bribie Island Fishing Tours, you might obtain a trade mark if it was a composite trade mark with a fish under the words “Bribie Island Fishing Tours” and other images around the edges. Still, it would be difficult and depend on a number of factors such as length of use and distinguishing characteristics.
Tip #2: Choose the Right Class
When you lodge a trade mark application, you need to decide what class you will lodge your trade mark application under for your tourism business. There are several classes that tourism businesses may fall under. For example: class 35 relates to promoting tourism services for others, class 39 relates to tourism services you provide yourself and classes 43 and 44 concern domestic and international medical tourism, respectively.
The distinctions between these four categories can be nuanced. It is important to consider:
- the type of services or goods your tourism business provides;
- what your tourism business is known for; and
- where you derive your tourism business income from.
The answer to these three questions will generally be a good indication of what class your tourism business would fall within for lodging a trade mark application.
Tip #3: Register a Composite Trade Mark
A composite trade mark is a great way to protect your business. A composite trade mark consists of things that may not be able to be individually trade marked but become a distinctive trade mark when combined.
It is essential to make sure that any elements of a composite trade mark alter the trade mark sufficiently and are not added on as an afterthought. For example, if you wanted to trade mark the phrase ‘Tasmanian Helicopter Tours’ with scrolls around the edge, this would likely not be approved because the scrolls are not sufficiently distinguishing.
Tip #4: Register a Graphic Trade Mark
A graphic trade mark is an image or logo that uniquely identifies your tourism business. It is a valuable way to differentiate your tourism business from your competition. It can be the emblem that you put on your charter boat or the side of your bus. As long as it is unique to your tourism business, it is a good idea to register your graphic trade mark as long as it is compliant with the trade mark legislation.
Tip #5: Trade Mark a Phrase or Word
Registering a phrase or word as a trade mark is a great way to protect your tourism business. It is best to be inventive here. Words with no meaning are easier to trade mark. For example, ‘Dolph-ours’ is easier to trade mark than ‘Dolphin Tours’. This is because you have invented the word, and it is unlikely that another person would need to use it when providing tourism services.
Additionally, it is good to use suggestive or emotive words, such as ‘Pretty Dog’ for dog food. ‘Pretty Dog’ does not describe the good directly, so it would be easier to register. Another thing to consider is trade marking words with no relation to the service or goods provided, such as ‘Stan’ for a streaming service.
Before deciding on a trade mark for your tourism brand, you should consider:
- whether a geographical trade mark is appropriate for your business;
- what class of tourism services you supply your customers; and
- whether you need to file a trade mark application for a phrase, a logo or a composite design.
If you have any further questions about trade marks for your tourism brand or need trade mark legal assistance, contact our experienced trade mark lawyers on 1300 657 423 or fill out the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can find more information on trade marks on our website or the IP Australia website.
This will depend on the number of classes you are applying under, and if you use the picklist. The first stage will generally cost $200.
A unique word can be something that you have made up. For example, Kodak is a unique trade mark, as it was made up for the business.