You are undoubtedly aware that Trade Marks are important to your business – but all the same, I get a lot of enquiries about exactly what they are and why they are so important – so I’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions about trade marks.
What is a Trade Mark?
A Trade Mark is a mark that distinguishes your goods and services from your competitor’s goods and services. It can be a word, a phrase, a symbol, a logo, or a combination of words and a logo. It can also be something more exotic – a colour, a shape, a sound, or even a smell.
Ultimately, it comes down to the question of whether a consumer can see the mark, and associate that mark to your goods or services. A good trade mark will signal to the consumer that the goods or services that they are looking at will have an associated quality and value to it. Because of this, a Trade Mark has value in it’s goodwill – and sometimes can be the largest asset that a business can have.
Registered Trade Marks
While you don’t have to register your Trade Mark, we at Adams and Partners Lawyers strongly recommend that you do so. A Registered Trade Mark is strong evidence that you have the the right to exclusively use the Registered Trade Mark throughout Australia for the goods and services the Trade Mark is registered in.
Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis, so it’s better to get in earlier than later! If you put it off for too long and someone else has a similar Trade Mark to yours, you will encounter difficulties in registering your Trade Mark. If this is the case, you need to give us a call and we’ll see if we can sort you out.
A Registered Trade Mark gives you exclusive rights to use the Trade Mark within Australia in the classes of goods or services that the Trade Mark is registered in for a period of 10 years.
Classes of Goods and Services
Not all Goods and Services are the same, and the fact that Apple Computers has registered the Trade Mark “Apple” does not mean that Pink Lady Apples must stop using the word “Apple”. There are 45 classes of Goods and Services that assist in distinguishing Trade Marks from each other. Often though, Trade Marks can cross over multiple classes. This does increase the cost of trade marks, but if a Trade Mark covers multiple products, then this is necessary.
Armed with all of the above information, if you have a Trade Mark and you still haven’t registered it by now – start today! Don’t delay! Give us at Adams and Partners Lawyers a call, and we’ll be happy to help you out.