5 Types of Trade Marks for Your Business
A trade mark is an excellent way to protect the brand of your business. A trade mark is what distinguishes your brand from others, helping your business stand out in any market. However, trade marks can take many forms, making it difficult for you to decide what trade marks your business should have. To help you navigate the trade mark process, this article will take you through five types of trade marks your business can have.
1. Business or Product Name
Words and letters are a common form of trade mark, making them ideal for your business name or product name. While the Australian Securities and Investments Commissions (ASIC) registers business names, this does not prevent others from using a similar business name. Instead, a trade mark will be required to keep your business name exclusive for your use. Similarly, obtaining a trade mark for your product name will prevent others from using a product name that is identical to or too similar to yours.
Phrases are another common form of a trade mark. If your business has a motto or slogan, you should consider a trade mark for it. Famous examples of slogans with a trade mark include Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ or the National Australia Bank’s ‘More Than Money’. An iconic slogan is an excellent branding tool for your business, so if your business has one, you should consider protecting it with a trade mark.
As a key feature of your brand, a logo is another great trade mark to obtain for your business. A logo can be an image, text, or a combination of both. Typically, a logo will comprise an image and a business name. If you are deciding between a trade mark for your business name and your logo, you will have to weigh up your options and choose what is best for your business. However, businesses typically register a trade mark for their business name first and register a logo later.
If your product has a unique packaging shape, it is possible to register a trade mark for it. Famous examples of this include the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle and the triangular shape of a Toblerone chocolate bar. Like all other trade marks, your product shape will have to be distinctive to be able to register it. This means that shapes that are already commonly used are not capable of registration, such as the shape of a wine bottle.
Trade marks can extend beyond visual designs. In fact, it is possible to register a trade mark for a song. A jingle for your business is an excellent way to make a long-lasting impression on consumers. For example, the McDonald’s short five-note ‘I’m lovin’ it’ is recognisable worldwide. If your business is likely to have on-air advertising, a jingle can be a great way to make your business’ mark.
When registering a trade mark for your business, it is important to consider all your options. Some common trade marks your business might consider include your:
- business or product name;
- packaging; or
Frequently Asked Questions
IP Australia has developed a trade mark search tool called ATMOSS. This search tool is free for public use, making it a great resource to search for all Australian trade marks. However, you must conduct a trade mark search before applying for a trade mark to ensure no pre-existing trade mark is similar or identical to yours.
There are fees to apply for a trade mark in Australia, which differ depending on the number of classes of goods and services you apply for your trade mark under. In addition, there may be other associated fees as well as renewal fees. However, trade mark registration itself has no fees.