3 Challenges for Managing Your Trade Marks
Your intellectual property (IP) is the most valuable asset of your business, and this includes your trade marks. A trade mark is one type of IP protection that allows you to distinguish elements of your brand from all of your competitors. As well as providing you with legal protection, trade marks are an excellent marketing tool. The trade mark registration process can be both long and complex. However, the registration process is only one part of the life cycle of your IP. Once you have registered your trade marks, you will need to develop processes to manage them. This article will take you through three challenges for managing your trade marks.
Monitoring Your Trade Marks
Monitoring your trade marks is a crucial step for managing your registered trade marks. It is also probably the most important. Monitoring your trade marks refers to searching for any unapproved use of your trade mark. The very purpose of your trade mark is to ensure that you have exclusive use. To enforce these rights, you will need to be aware of anyone infringing on these rights.
To find out if anyone is infringing on your trade mark, you will need to search for any unauthorised use by your competitor businesses regularly. In addition, the Australian Official Journal of Trade Marks will advertise new trade mark applications, providing you with an opportunity to file an opposition.
If you find that someone is infringing on your trade mark, you will then be able to use your rights to stop this. However, monitoring your trade marks can be a challenge because of the sheer number of trade mark applications.
Revising Your Trade Marks
To manage your trade marks, you will need to have a system for trade mark revision. Developing such systems may be difficult, but it is essential. Revising your trade marks regularly can help to ensure you get the most out of your trade marks and not unnecessarily waste money or human resources on managing them.
Revision may take several forms, but primarily it relates to checking for gaps in your registered trade marks to identify where it might be necessary to make a new trade mark application. Further, you should check that the trade marks you have registered are being used, helping prevent removal for non-use or unnecessary renewal fees if you are not using your trade mark.
Renewing Your Trade Marks
Trade mark renewal is a crucial step when managing your trade marks. Trade marks require renewal every ten years, at which time you will need to pay the applicable renewal fees. While renewing your trade marks itself is not necessarily a challenge, deciding whether to proceed with trade mark renewal can be. Therefore, if you intend to continue using your trade mark, you must go through this process.
However, if you do not wish to continue using your trade mark, you may wish to consider letting your trade mark lapse. Renewing a trade mark you have no intention of using may result in the removal of your trade mark for non-use and result in you incurring unnecessary expenses.
To receive notifications about when to renew your trade mark, you will need to keep your business or personal contact details up to date with Australia’s IP office, IP Australia.
Trade mark registration is just the first step in the trade mark process. Once you have registered your trade marks, you will need to have systems in place that help you manage your trade marks to ensure you are getting the most out of them and exercising your exclusive rights over them. Three challenges for managing your trade marks include:
- monitoring your trade marks;
- revising your trade marks; and
- renewing your trade marks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Trade mark management refers to the systems you implement that identify, protect and monitor your business’ trade marks after they are registered. This is a crucial part of the life cycle of your trade marks and is essential to ensure you are utilising your rights to your trade marks.
It is important to remember that trade mark registration is only the first step in the overall trade mark process and the ongoing management of your trade marks is an ongoing process. Some of the challenges for managing trade marks include monitoring your trade marks adequately, revising your trade marks properly and renewing your trade marks as needed.