Intellectual property (IP) issues are key business considerations and can be costly ones if they don’t receive due attention. One of the central elements to IP is that of trademarking, particularly in relation to business names and logos, both of which are fundamental to a company brand and should as such be fully protected. This article outlines the main points to bear in mind when registering for both, either in combination or individually.
It is a common assumption that registering a business name is enough to protect it. However, it must also be trademarked for full assurance. This is because the two can be distinguished by the fact that a business name gives users rights to trade under the name and not proprietary rights, that is the rights to use it exclsuively for your business, as a trademark does.
The first step to take is to check the trademark isn’t infringing on another with a TM search. A TM search is a quick search tool that enables business owners to simply and quickly see if there may be any potential issues around the registration of their trademark.
Owing to this simplified process, a TM check will only return ten results even when there are more results. The reason for this is it is only designed to give a user some indication around whether the trademark is already in use. Because of this, it is also advisable to check the results against ATMOSS, Intellectual Property Australia’s more comprehensive database. ATMOSS gives users the options of customising their search and look deeper into particular trademark categories.
As with names, a logo must be distinguishable from others already registered, meaning it must be uniquely identifiable with your company. By having a protected logo, business owners can ensure consistent usage through a recognisable feature that appears across branding materials, advertising and on official company correspondence.
In applying to register a logo, applicants will need to include a high-resolution image of the logo for examination by Intellectual property Australia once submitted. In greater detail, applicants will also have to make a description of each element of the logo. For instance, what colours do you want your logo to be in? Are there graphical features to go along with it? Is text going to be combined or overlayed on the logo? These are all factors that need to be considered.
In the event a business wants to register both a name and a logo at the same time, the best course of action is to apply to register for what is known as a combination mark. A combination mark is when the name and the logo are applied for separately so as to ensure maximum protection for both trademarks. It also allows for one of the trademarks to be altered without having to change the other if the business owner doesn’t need to.
Once the preliminary checks have been made, the applicant must then identify the trademarking classes and await examination before hearing of the final outcome of their application.
There are 45 classes of trademarks in Australia, and it is especially important to correctly classify the good & service in the early stages of an application.
Once this has been done, the application will then go on to be assessed by a trademark examiner, a process which can take up to 4 months.
If your application has errors or fails to meet the necessary requirements, it will need to be resubmitted in light of these
As names and logos are some of the most frequently registered trademarks, it is important to have a firm grasp of them given that they will be a central part of any businesses intellectual property. For more detailed information on the registration process, contact LegalVisions Intellectual Property Law team on 1300 544 755