How Can I Protect My Business Logo?
As your business grows in both value and success, protecting your business logo becomes more important. One of the best ways to protect your business logo is to register it as a trade mark. A trade mark shows your competitors and consumers that you consider your logo a valuable part of your business – enough so that you have taken steps to protect it.
A trade mark will give you a number of rights over your business logo, including the exclusive right to use your business logo and the ability to stop others from using a logo similar to yours. This article will take you through some key considerations for protecting your business logo with a trade mark.
Design Your Logo
When designing your business logo, you must ensure that it meets the legislative requirements of a trade mark. Your logo will likely comprise your business name and an image. Your logo must not include commonly used images, phrases or words.
For example, words used to indicate certain characteristics of your goods or services, such as a description of its quality, will be difficult to register as a trade mark. In addition, an image of your product itself will also be difficult to trade mark. This is because such images should be available for everyone, and a trade mark would prevent this.
Check Your Logo is Available
It is a requirement that your trade mark is distinctive. This means that it cannot be identical to or too similar to an existing trade mark. To ensure that your trade mark is distinctive, you will have to conduct a trade mark search.
Australia’s IP office, IP Australia, has a free trade mark search tool that you can use to conduct a trade mark search. This tool, known as ATMOSS, has features that allow you to search for images. This makes it convenient when searching for a trade mark for your business logo. As well as searching for similar images using descriptive words, you can also upload a photo of your trade mark to compare it to other trade marks in the database.
Apply for a Trade Mark
Once you have designed your business logo and determined that it is available for use, you will have to apply to register it. You can do this by making an application to IP Australia. To make an application, you will need to:
- provide IP Australia with your contact details;
- pay the application fee; and
- provide a visual representation of your business logo.
Once you have made your application, it will go into a pile to be assessed to ensure it meets the legislative requirements. If your trade mark meets all the requirements and there are no objections, IP Australia will place it on the trade mark register for 10 years.
Once you have registered your business logo as a trade mark, you will need to remain diligent about monitoring it. This includes regularly checking that other businesses are not using a logo that is similar to yours and infringing on your trade mark. Having a trade mark gives you the exclusive rights to it, meaning that you can enforce these rights over anyone infringing on your trade mark. Therefore, to get the full benefit of trade mark registration, you will have to enforce your trade mark rights.
Your business logo is an essential part of your intellectual property. This means that it is a key part of your business’ brand and, therefore, value. To protect your business logo, you should register it as a trade mark. Some key things to consider when protecting your business logo include:
- designing your logo;
- checking your logo is available;
- applying for a trade mark; and
- being diligent with monitoring your trade mark.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are several key steps you will need to complete to trade mark your business logo. This includes designing your logo with the legislative requirements in mind, checking the availability of your trade mark, conducting a trade mark search and making a trade mark application.
Trade mark protection lasts for 10 years. Before the 10 year mark, IP Australia will send you information on renewing your trade mark for another 10 years if you choose. If you do not renew your trade mark, it will be considered abandoned, and other businesses might be able to use your trade mark.