Can I Register a Trade Mark Without a Business?
A trade mark is perhaps the most important asset for any business. It can help protect your brand and its identity by giving you the exclusive rights to use and commercialise your trade mark. A trade mark also allows you to stop others from using your trade mark for their benefit. Given the benefits of having a registered trade mark in the context of a business, you might be wondering if you can register a trade mark without a business. This article will take you through who can register a trade mark and important things to consider if registering a trade mark as an individual.
Who Can Register a Trade Mark?
To file a trade mark application, the applicant must be:
- a person;
- a company; or
- an incorporated association.
Because individuals are eligible to file for a trade mark, it is unnecessary to have a business to register a trade mark.
If you are a business, you cannot use your business name or trading name to file a trade mark. Instead, you will need to file your trade mark under the name of the owners of the business registration.
On the other hand, if you are a corporation, you should file your trade mark under the corporation name instead of the names of the directors. If you have not yet formed a corporation, you will still be able to file for a trade mark as an individual and assign your trade mark to your corporation after forming the corporation.
Using Your Trade Mark
When registering a trade mark, you must use or intend to use your trade mark. You will need to indicate your intended use of your trade mark in relation to the goods and services class you selected in your trade mark application.
While you do not need a business to register a trade mark, you should consider the practical implications. Unused trade marks will be eligible for removal from the trade mark register. If your trade mark has been on the trade mark register for five years and has not been in use for three consecutive years, other people or businesses will be able to oppose your trade mark for non-use.
If you are an individual and do not have a business, you might find it difficult to use your trade mark and risk losing your trade mark to removal for non-use.
Suppose you register a trade mark as an individual and plan to form a corporation or establish a business in the future. In that case, you will need to be cautious about changing your trade mark ownership. If you form a corporation or business and continue to use your trade mark without changing ownership of your trade mark, your trade mark will technically be in use by the incorrect owner. This has the potential to put your trade mark at risk of third party opposition.
While you can register a trade mark without a business, there are practical implications you need to consider. These include:
- how you intend to use your trade mark as an individual; and
- considering future plans to form a business in preparation for changing trade mark ownership.
If you need help registering your trade mark or have any trade mark questions, our experienced trade mark lawyers can help. Get in touch with them on 1300 657 423 or by filling out the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
A trade mark is a way to distinguish your goods or services from other businesses. A trade mark can come in many forms, such as a logo, phrase, slogan, or packaging. Trade marks are an important asset, forming a major part of your business’ intellectual property and, therefore, your business’ value.
While it is not essential to register your trade mark, trade mark registration has a wide range of long-lasting benefits. These include providing your brand with an extra layer of protection, encouraging investment through having a legitimate brand, preventing potential legal disputes, and giving you the ability to license your goods and services.
Yes, you can register a trade mark without a business. To be eligible to register a trade mark, you must be either an individual, a company, or an incorporated association. However, if you are an individual registering a trade mark, you should consider a number of things, such as how you intend to use your trade mark as an individual. You will also need to consider any plans you have to start a business or form a corporation so that you can prepare to change your trade mark ownership.