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We come across the symbols ® and “TM” behind brands and names every day and most people understand that these are trademark symbols. Apart from that, how much more do people know about trademarks? How does one acquire a trademark, why do businesses use a trademark, what is the process involved?

What is a trademark?

A business will use a trademark to help distinguish itself from other similar businesses and to indicate that certain goods or services derive from a particular trader or service provider.

A trademark can be a:

  • word,
  • phrase,
  • letter,
  • number,
  • sound,
  • smell,
  • distinct shape,
  • logo,
  • picture,
  • aspect of packaging, or
  • combination of these.

Trademarks are a visible form of a business’s brand identity.

Trademarks in Australia

In Australia, trademarks are legislated through the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth). IP Australia is an Australian Government agency responsible for administering trademarks.

Registered trademarks and the advantages

Registration of trademarks is not compulsory but the benefits that come with registration make it worth considering. They include but not limited to:

  1. Consumers indentify and associate qualities and reputation with goods and services bearing certain trademarks. A trademark can accordingly be an integral part of your marketing strategy.
  2. Registration gives the trademark holder the legal right to use, licence or even to sell the trademark within Australia for the classes of goods and services for which it is registered.  Other businesses will be prevented from registering similar trademarks.
  3. Jurisdiction of the Federal Court may be invoked against trademark infringement. If your trademark is registered and someone else uses the trademark in their business, you can ‘force’ them to stop using it.

International trademarks: Registration can be used as a basis for obtaining international registration in all 81 countries that are members of the Madrid Protocol. When your business expands overseas, your trademarks can have similar protection.

If you have developed a great name for your business or product with your own distinct logo and your business reputation counts on it, then we recommend this be properly trademarked to best protect your business. Your trademark is more than just a mere symbol. Protect it!

Quinn & Scattini can undertake appropriate searches, assist with trademark registration and advise you on all your intellectual property rights.

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