Trade Mark Registration Tips for Schools
You might be wondering, how can trade marks protect a school? Well, just like any business, a school is judged on its reputation. Therefore, it is important that you protect your school’s reputation from being misappropriated by others. To help explain why your school can benefit from a trade mark, this article outlines some trade mark basics and tips for trade mark registration.
What Is a Trade Mark?
Put simply, a registered trade mark provides the owner with an exclusive right to use, licence and sell their mark. This means that someone cannot go on to use your trade mark without your permission. Trade marks typically protect the features of a business’ brand that make it distinguishable. In relation to schools, a trade mark can protect your school’s:
- logos, badges or crests; and
These features of your school will likely be used on marketing materials when you advertise your school. Additionally, you will reproduce them on school uniforms and various other items, such as stationary and study planners. In each of these instances, your school name or logos will represent:
- the quality of the education that your school provides;
- your school’s academic and sporting achievements; and
- the values that your school instils within its students.
For this reason, your school’s ‘brand’ is a valuable asset. Therefore, you should take measures to protect this asset.
Benefits of Trade Mark Protection for a School
There are many benefits associated with protecting your school’s ‘brand’ image with trade marks. However, a summary of some of the key benefits is in the table below.
|Trade marks protect the features of your school’s ‘brand’ from being copied by your competitors in the industry.||If someone misuses your trade mark or attempts to register a similar trade mark, you have the legal rights as the owner of the registered trade mark to prevent others from doing so. This includes those who unauthorisedly use your trade mark online, on social media or through general advertisements.|
|Trade marks help build your school’s reputation.||Since a school’s reputation is often closely associated with its name and logo, protecting these features of your school means that you can freely market your educational services using your mark without fear that it goes unprotected. Therefore, trade marks can help to promote and develop your school’s reputation.|
Trade Mark Registration Tips
Before you apply for a registered trade mark via IP Australia’s online services, you should consider the following tips.
1. What Will You Include for Trade Mark Protection?
You should first compile a list of the features that are typically associated with your school brand, including:
- phrases; and
You should then refine this list to the features you will use to promote your school to the wider community. For example, acronyms and nicknames only used within the school to promote a certain code may not need to be registered. This is because it is unlikely they will be used to promote your school.
2. Which Class of Goods and Services Will You Include?
Trade marks must be registered in connection with a class of goods or services. This means that in your trade mark application, you must specify which goods or services relate to those offered by your school. Some common classes that schools include in their trade mark application include class:
- 16, which includes stationery, printed matter and teaching material;
- 25, which includes clothing, footwear and headgear; and
- 41, which includes education services and sporting and cultural activities.
3. Which Application to Use?
When you apply for a registered trade mark, you have the option of using a standard application or a TM Headstart application. Using a standard application, you must provide:
- information about the trade mark owner;
- a description of your school’s brand that your trade mark will protect, i.e. your school’s name or logo; and
- the class of goods and services that your trade mark will apply to, i.e. class 41 on the Trade Mark Classification Search includes educational services.
Under a TM Headstart application, you will still need to complete all the formal requirements of a standard application. However, in addition to these requirements, a trade mark expert at IP Australia will provide you with a pre-assessment of your application. This way, you can identify any potential errors in your application and make amendments accordingly before you formally submit your trade mark application for IP Australia’s review.
Trade marks can help protect your school’s reputation by preventing others from misappropriating its unique features, like its name or logo. Therefore, trade marks can allow you to freely market your school, knowing that its identifiable features are protected. Before registering a trade mark for your school, you should decide:
- what features you will protect;
- which class of goods and services you will register your trade mark in connection with; and
- which trade mark application to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
A standard trade mark application costs $250 per class of goods and services included in your application. For example, if your application includes three classes, it will cost $750.
The ‘™’ symbol is typically used when a trade mark is unregistered or is in the process of being registered. It notifies the general public that the owner intends to protect the mark from being misused by others. On the other hand, the reserved symbol ‘®’ is only used in relation to registered trade marks.