My Trade Mark Is Registered: What Next?
Your business intellectual property (IP) is its most important asset. This includes your business’ trade marks, which you may wish to seek registration for. However, obtaining trade mark registration is only the first step in the life-cycle of your trade marks. Once your trade mark is registered, there are a number of steps you should take. This is to ensure you get the most out of your trade marks. This article will take you through three key things that come after trade mark registration.
1. Use the Registered Trade Mark Symbol
You will often see the ™ symbol or the ® symbol in association with trade marks. Usually, these symbols are placed in an obvious position next to a trade mark, often on the right hand side of the relevant branding. However, these are not to be used interchangeably. The relevant symbol that you can use depends on whether you register your trade mark or not.
The ™ symbol is used to indicate that you intend for the particular element of your brand to operate as a trade mark. However, it suggests that you did not register your trade mark. On the other hand, the ® symbol indicates that you did register your trade mark. If your trade mark is not registered, it is an offence to use this symbol.
Once you register your trade mark, you should begin using the ® symbol. It will serve as a deterrent for competitors and prevent them from infringing on your trade mark and attest to the legitimacy of your brand by consumers.
2. Manage Your Trade Marks
After your trade mark is registered, you will need to implement a system to manage it. A good IP management system will ensure you have a method to access and share information relating to your IP and ensure you have a system in place for IP revision. If your trade marks are no longer beneficial to you, it may not be worth maintaining them.
As well as daily management of your trade marks, you will also be required to file trade mark renewals every 10 years. As well as applying for trade mark renewal, you will also need to pay the applicable renewal fees. If you do not renew your trade marks, you will be at risk of abandoning them and therefore losing your exclusive rights to your trade mark.
3. Monitor for Infringement
Once you have a trade mark, you must make the most of your trade mark rights. Largely, this relates to enforcing your rights against trade mark infringement. To deter others from using your trade mark, you will need to implement measures to monitor for infringement.
There are several ways that you can monitor for trade mark infringement. For example, it is possible to set a Google alert to notify you when businesses use a trade mark that is similar to or identical to yours. You should also regularly search IP Australia’s trade mark database to ensure that any proposed trade marks will not infringe on yours. Hiring a professional to monitor your trade marks is also an option.
Once you identify someone infringing on your trade mark, you will then be in a position to enforce your trade mark rights. For example, you may wish to make a formal opposition to a proposed trade mark. Alternatively, you might need to send a cease and desist letter to someone infringing on your trade mark. Once you register your trade mark all of your enforcement options are more straightforward.
Once your trade mark is registered, there are several steps you should take to ensure you get the most out of your trade mark registration. This includes:
- using the registered trade mark symbol;
- managing your trade marks; and
- monitoring for trade mark infringement.
Frequently Asked Questions
The ® symbol, also known as the registered trade mark symbol, can only be used when your trade mark is registered. It is an offence to use this symbol for an unregistered trade mark. Once your trade mark is registered, you should use the ® symbol to deter infringement on your trade mark and to attract consumers by attesting to the legitimacy of your brand.
After your trade mark is registered, you will be able to use the registered trade mark symbol. You will also need to manage your trade marks over their lifetime to ensure you are getting the most out of your trade marks. A key part of your IP management strategy will include monitoring for trade mark infringement and enforcing your trade mark rights where necessary.