3 Things to Consider Before Renewing Your Trade Mark
Has it been a few years since you first registered your trade mark? Have you received a renewal notice in the mail? One of the often-overlooked considerations when managing a trade mark is that you need to renew it every 10 years. This may seem like a long time and the only thing you need to worry about, but there are a few more considerations you should take into account. If you are starting the process of renewing your trade mark, this article will help by exploring some of the key considerations to make before renewing your trade mark with IP Australia.
Do You Still Need Your Trade Mark?
It is important to consider whether you still need to protect your trade mark before renewing it. If you are not using your trade mark and it expires, you will need to pay expensive fees to IP Australia to continue to maintain the protection you receive from your trade mark being active. Furthermore, IP Australia may decide to deregister your trade mark if you have not been using it regularly. Inactive trade marks are cancelled to prevent companies and people from buying up trade marks they have no intent on using. Companies sometimes do this to prevent competition, as people will not be able to use their intellectual property for advertising their own goods and services.
For example, say you have a coffee shop that has transitioned into being an evening bar that sells alcohol exclusively. The logo that you initially used to open the cafe may not be the same logo you are using for your bar. It would be a waste of time and money to renew your trade mark on the logo you used for your coffee shop. It would be better to leave this trade mark to expire if you had no plans of continuing to operate the coffee shop that used that particular logo. In this case, IP Australia may also decide to revoke your trade mark for non-use.
Are You Renewing Your Trade Mark on Time?
If you are renewing your trade mark, it is important to check the time frame for renewing your trade mark. Most trade marks are valid for 10 years. If you are applying outside of this time frame, you have a grace period of six months after the 10 year period to renew your trade mark. If you are renewing out of time but within the six month grace period, you will need to pay extra fees on top of your renewal fees. These extra fees are to compensate IP Australia for renewing your application out of time.
The fees to apply out of time are expensive, so it is always best to renew your trade mark within the 10 year period. If you are out of time, you need to act quickly to renew your trade mark. If you do not, your trade mark will become deregistered, and you will need to reapply to IP Australia to have it renewed. This is an expensive and time-consuming process and takes your focus away from your business.
Is the Renewal Notice Valid?
Sometimes, you will receive a renewal notice that looks official but is actually not. There are a number of criminals that search the public information that is available on IP Australia. These people use this information to send you false renewal invoices that look official. It is a common occurrence that businesses pay these invoices under the false assumption that they are paying their renewal fees when, in fact, they are paying criminals.
IP Australia will generally only contact you using the means you selected when you made your initial application. If you think you may have received a false invoice, you can telephone IP Australia to confirm what you need to pay. Make sure only to use telephone numbers listed on the official IP Australia website to avoid calling scammers.
Before deciding to renew your trade mark, you should consider:
- if you have a valid renewal notice;
- whether you still using your trade mark; and
- whether you are renewing your trade mark on time.
Frequently Asked Questions
You cannot keep your trade mark if you are not actively using it. This is to stop people from registering multiple unused trade marks to prevent other people from using them, reducing competition. If you register a trade mark, you need to ensure that you will be using it.
You can renew your trade mark out of time, but there are fees associated with doing so. It is important to note that you only have an extra six months to apply to renew your trade mark out of time.
If you have any doubts about the validity of an invoice, it is best to call IP Australia.