4 Mistakes to Avoid When Trade Marking a Phrase
A trade mark is a type of intellectual property (IP) that protects your business’ brand. A trade mark is an important tool that helps you distinguish your product or service from your competitors. Trade marking a phrase is a great way to have exclusive use of a catchy slogan that can uniquely identify your business and help you stand out.
The rules associated with trade marks can be complex and difficult to navigate, making it easy to make mistakes that can lead to the rejection of your trade mark application. This article will highlight four mistakes to avoid when trade marking a phrase.
1. Making It the Same or Similar to Another Trade Mark
Trade marking a phrase provides you with the exclusive use of the phrase within a specific category of goods or services. You cannot register a trade mark that is the same as or similar to a competitor’s trade mark.
To make sure your phrase is unique, you will need to search IP Australia’s Australian Trade Mark Online Search System (ATMOSS). Searching ATMOSS will help reduce the chances of IP Australia rejecting your application.
2. Being Too Descriptive
Trade marking a phrase can be challenging. While a phrase can be an important part of your brand, your phrase cannot be too specific. Attempting to trade mark a phrase that describes your particular product or the quality of your product too broadly will be difficult to register.
For example, a builder trying to trade mark the phrase “We Build Homes” is not likely to be successful, because other builders will need to use the same phrase. Think distinctive, not descriptive – your phrase should not describe your business characteristics or describe the goods or service you provide. Instead, it should be unique to your business.
3. Not Planning How You Will Use Your Phrase
You can lose your trade mark if you do not use it. Competitors can apply to remove trade marks from the trade mark register if you do not use them over a certain period of time. Because of this, it is essential that before you register your phrase, you have thought about how you are going to use it in the day-to-day operation of your business.
You can only apply for removal due to non-use five years after the trade mark’s filing date. You must also prove that the trade mark has not been used for the last three years.
4. Not Knowing the Rules
The rules surrounding trade mark registration can be complex. There are several restrictions on what you can and cannot trade mark. Knowing what is and is not allowed is the key to ensuring your trade mark application is successful. Some examples of things to avoid when applying to have a phrase trade marked include:
- inappropriate words, such as swear words;
- your surname or a common surname;
- foreign words that are commonly known by their English translation;
- a geographical place or location; or
A trade mark is an important tool that allows you to distinguish your product or service from your competitors. Trade marking a phrase is one way to help distinguish your business and build your brand. There are a number of rules about what you can and cannot trade mark that can make registering your trade mark a complex process. For assistance in trade marking a phrase, contact our experienced trade mark lawyers on 1300 657 423 or fill out the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can trade mark a phrase. However, there are a number of rules associated with trade marking a phrase. For example, you cannot trade mark a phrase that is too similar to an already registered trade mark. You also cannot trade mark a phrase that is offensive or overly descriptive.
Trade mark protection is how you can ensure you have exclusive use of your business’s brand. A trade mark also helps you distinguish your product or service from your competitors. A short phrase can go a long way in helping potential customers remember your business.
You can apply for a trade mark on IP Australia’s website. Before registering your trade mark, you must make sure your trade mark is unique by searching IP Australia’s Australian Trade Mark Online Search System (ATMOSS).
Yes, you can lose your trade mark if you do not use it. Five years from the date you filed for your trade mark registration, competitors can apply to have your trade mark removed from the register for non-use. Competitors must demonstrate that your trade mark has not been used for the past three years.