Trade Marks are vital for business owners intent on developing and protecting business brands

Posted on Apr 16, 2015 by   |   Categories: Commercial & Business Law, Intellectual Property

What would happen to your business if a new competitor providing identical services started trading in your locality using a very similar business name, asks intellectual property lawyer ROBERT STARKE.

This situation recently transpired for one of Baker Love’s clients, a longstanding and successful business owner. It caused genuine confusion among the public who couldn’t distinguish between the businesses, and was increasingly detrimental to our client’s business reputation and success in the market place.

We resolved our client’s problem by entering into negotiations with its competitor and were able to reach a commercial settlement. We also recommended that our client register multiple Trade Marks to protect its business for the future.

Many business owners believe that it is enough to register a business name, company name and domain name, but it’s not. These kinds of registrations do not provide exclusive rights to the use of a business name; nor do they provide proprietary rights to ownership of that name – only a registered Trade Mark is capable of providing that level of protection.

A registered Trade Mark provides the registered owner with the exclusive legal right to use, license and sell the Trade Mark in Australia. It is used to distinguish a business, its products and/or its services from others in the marketplace.

In Australia, registration is governed by the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth). A registered Trade Mark can protect any of the following: letters, numbers, words, phrases, sounds, smells, shapes, logos, pictures and aspects of packaging.

The key benefits of Trade Marks include:

  • Business asset: Trade Marks create a recognisable, distinguishable and therefore valuable business asset that can be sold;
  • Ensure exclusive rights: registration provides the owner with exclusive rights to use the Trade Mark in relation to particular goods and services throughout Australia; and
  • Legal Protection: Trade Marks provide protection and enforcement rights against business competitors who infringe them in Australia.

 

The initial Trade Mark registration period is 10 years and can be continued indefinitely, providing the Trade Mark continues to be used and the renewal fees are paid.

If you would like to discuss Trade Marks for your business, contact our Intellectual Property Law team on (02) 4944 3322 or email Robert Starke at rstarke@bakerlove.com.au.