What is a trademark?

A trade mark is something, usually a name, logo or both, that is used to indicate the origin of the products (goods) or services that you offer.   Or put another way, it is your brand that is serving to set your goods or services apart from other traders.

What is the trade mark application process?

Trade marks rights are a known as rights by registration, meaning you must officially register your trade mark to get the full benefit and privilege of a registered trade mark.  In Australia, the government body set up to review the applications for trade mark registrations is IP Australia.  In New Zealand, it is IPONZ, and in the United States it is the USPTO.

There are common reasons why a trade mark may not be accepted upon first examination by a government.  To know more about the trademark registration process and how to apply for a trademark, please see our Before You Apply section.

Who enforces your trade mark?

It is your responsibility to ensure that your mark is not being infringed by another party. Government bodies, such as IP Australia, do not monitor trade mark use. If you discover that your mark is being used without your permission you should contact your trade mark attorney or trademark lawyer and take action against the other party.

When can I use the ® symbol?

The ® symbol pertains only to trade marks that are registered, and to use it in respect of an unregistered mark is unlawful. The ™ symbol may be used on any trade mark, whether registered or not, to indicate that you are intending to use your name/logo/packaging as a trade mark.

I have a business name, won’t that stop others using my name?

No.  A business name does not provide you any proprietry rights, and you cannot use it to prevent others from using your name (except in very limited circumstances).  A business name is merely the name under which a business operates. Its function is to allow others to identify the business.  Only a trade mark will provide good legal rights to prevent others from copying your name or logo.

Do you provide services other than trade mark applications?

Yes.  We offer a full range of services to get your trade mark registered in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, including searches, applications, oppositions, and responses to the government intellectual property office.  We don’t take on Madrid Protocol applications or trade mark infringement matters, though in both cases we can provide recommendations and also work with your other legal representative.  Please contact us via our contact form and we can discuss how we can help you.

Is the spelling trademark or trade mark?

In Australia and New Zealand it is “trade mark”, and in the United States it is “trademark”.