How To Register A Trademark
This article will provide you with a basic overview of the trademark process in Australia. It will explain how to register your trademark so that as a business owner you can be on top of the basics, however, the only way to ensure your trademark is handled properly is to use an Australian trademark attorney or lawyer to assist you.
A trademark is a sign used (usually a name or logo) to distinguish goods or services of one business from goods or services provided by another business. Viewed in another way, a trademark will be what sets your business apart from your competitors. It may consist of words, logos or a combination of both. Customers will be able to recognise your goods or services by your trademark.
A trademark is property, and is a valuable property and business asset that may be sold like any other property.
The 5 Steps To Trademark a Name In Australia:
1. Trademark Search
This helps you to identify any existing trademark names in Australia (or other country such as United States or New Zealand) that may be similar to your proposed trademark name ensuring it is available. It gives you the peace of mind knowing that your brand will not be in conflict with another already registered brand.
If the searches come up clear, you may then proceed to filing your trade mark with the appropriate government body, which is IP Australia in the case of an Australian trademark registration. It is the step whereby you advise the government what your trademark will be and what the goods and services it covers. All goods and services fall into predefined trade mark classes and there are 45 of these classes to select from. Classes 1-34 cover goods and Classes 35-45 cover services. It is important you correctly identify your goods and services when preparing and filing a trademark name in Australia in order to meet the basic filing requirements.
The filed trademark is then examined by the government, typically in around 10-13 weeks from the date of filing. The trade marks office will examine all the details to ensure the basic filing requirements are met and that your trademark name is registrable. Once examination is complete, you will receive either a notice of acceptance or an adverse report if there are any problems with your application.
When the application is accepted, it must be advertised on the public record for a period of 2 months (or 1 month in USA and 3 months in NZ) to allow third parties the opportunity to lodge any formal objections (these are extremely rare) to your trademark name becoming registered.
Assuming no third party oppositions are filed, the application should proceed to registration. The whole process (application to registration) takes 7 months. A registered Trademark name in Australia is valid for a period of 10 years and is renewable for another 10 years on payment of a renewal fee.
Trademarking a name in Australia dissuades others from using it without your permission anywhere in Australia. If you do not register your trademark, you will have virtually no rights in law to prevent another party using your brand or something similar to it.
A final point on registering your trademark overseas. There is no such thing as an “international” trademark as they are on a per country basis, and so you need to apply to each country you are interested in. Costs such as legal fees and translations can build up quickly when filing for your trademark overseas, and so we recommend focusing on specific countries based on your needs and the country size. The United States is a great county to seek a trademark as it is one single trademark for a market the size of Europe. At the least, a United States trademark is a deterrent to would be infringers and copiers. We have United States trademark associates that we can engage on your behalf and use your Australian trademark application that we draft for you as a basis.
Need some advice on this?
If you need some more advice in your particular case, we offer a free initial consultation.