Get exclusive ownership of your business or product name or logo with a registered trade mark.
Your trade mark is the brand element around which your business is based. It is the iconic representation of your business reputation. When someone sees it, they can instantly distinguish you from your competitors and know that they are in the right place. The moment you started building a business, you began investing time and energy in your name or logo as an unregistered trade mark. The more you use it, the more important it becomes, and the more you may feel yourself wanting to keep it just for you. Registering a business name is necessary if you are going to use a name other than your own to sell your goods or services, but it does not give you any ownership rights. To do that, you need to register your trade mark.
Do you absolutely love your logo or your business name? Do you have a catch phrase or product name that you want to protect for your exclusive use? Ownership of your trade marks is not only a way to prevent others from using them - your trade marks become an important asset of your business.
Would you like an infographic of the trade mark application process?
Here are some of the benefits of registering your trade mark:
Reserve your rights
Do you have a fantastic, innovative business name, product name or logo that others in your industry have not yet thought of, and that you want to reserve for your own use or possibly sell to someone else? Registering your trade mark makes your idea more saleable, acts as a deterrent to others and gives you a MUCH better position in terms of negotiating or mediating a good outcome with a competitor.
Protect your reputation
Do you have a really successful business that others are noticing? Are you concerned that competitors may want to copy or pass themselves off as you, confusing your clients and damaging your reputation? Having a registered trade mark improves your ability to deal with these scenarios without going to court.
Boost your belief in your business
Having a registered trade mark is a huge boost for your professional mindset and totally gets you out of the hobby category. However, this should come after you get other legal foundations sorted, such as your contracts!
Accelerate your expansion
If you are ready to take your business to the next level by licensing other people to use your intellectual property, having a registered trade mark increases the value of what you are offering them, and makes it easier for you to enforce your rights.
A registered trade mark gives you exclusive ownership in the country where you have registered it, and in the categories of goods and services that you have chosen to protect. The first step when considering registration of a trade mark is to do your due diligence searches. If you have not already done this, you might like to book a Due Diligence Consultation with me.
Click on the questions below for some trade mark FAQs:
Right now, if you are using your mark to sell your goods or services, you may be able to signal your ownership of the name by using the ™ sign. This declares it to be an unregistered trade mark. Just make sure you have done your Due Diligence first so you know that no-one else claims ownership of it.
If you find yourself in a situation where someone is infringing your unregistered trade mark, there are common law remedies for ‘passing off’ and statutory remedies for misleading and deceptive conduct under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, formerly known as the Trade Practices Act. These can be used if another trader were to engage in a targeted effort to copy your product name and image and to mislead the public into believing your businesses were related, even without a registered trade mark.
When a trade mark is registered, you can use the ® symbol. PLEASE NOTE that it is illegal to use the ® symbol on an unregistered trade mark, so don’t make the mistake of using this “R in a circle” symbol before registration. Use the “superscript TM” symbol for an unregistered trade mark instead.
Next time you are in the supermarket, take a moment to notice which brand names use the ™ and which use the ® ... it's fun!
This depends on the country or countries that you want to register it in, and how many classes or categories of goods and services you need.
For an Australian trade mark, I always use the Headstart Application service as this allows us to work with the trade mark examiner to address their concerns before the final application is published.
IP Australia's fees for this service are $200 per trade mark per class for the initial request, which includes minor amendments. (If major amendments are required, this counts as a ‘new representation’ and a further $150 per class will be required.) If you decide to add further classes, this will also cost a further $200 per class. Once the examiner is satisfied and you proceed to registration, a stage 2 fee of $130 per trade mark per class will be required. The advantages of using the Headstart application are that the process is private, so we do not have to deal with objections from potential competitors until we have finalised our application in response to the examiner’s concerns, we are given advance notification of problems with the registration of your desired mark, and we are able to make minor amendments to address the examiner’s concerns without additional costs before proceeding with the application.
The majority of my clients find 3 classes sufficient for their business needs. Assuming the application was approved and went through with no objections, IP Australia's fees in that situation would be:
Due Diligence Consultation = $440
Register “[MARK]” in 3 classes
Initial Headstart application fees $200 x 1 trade mark x 3 classes= $600
Stage 2 Headstart application fees $130 x 1 trade mark x 3 classes= $390
I charge a fixed fee of $880 for a simple trade mark application in up to 3 classes. However, please note that this estimate may still increase if major amendments are required by the examiner, or if an objection is lodged by a competitor.
The total cost (if everything goes through smoothly) would be $2,310 in Australian dollars, including GST. Additional work (when something does not go according to plan, is charged at $440/hr).
If you would like me to process your Australian trade mark application, please begin by booking your Due Diligence Consultation.
While it is possible to register a trade mark yourself, there are some complexities involved and it can help to have an experienced guide or to entrust the application to a lawyer.
If you are pretty confident you know what you are doing but would like me to guide you through the application process, I charge $660 for up to 90 minutes of assistance. I hold your hand and walk you through the process while you submit the application yourself. It can take up to an hour to complete stage 1 and half an hour to complete stage 2. The major variable is if there are tech issues, and the number of items you have in a class as it takes time to work through the items.
Make sure you have done your Due Diligence and chosen your classes BEFORE booking the 90 minute appointment below. I will only invoice you for the time we use. The more prepared you are, the less time it will take. If it takes less than an hour, I will reduce the price to $440; if it takes longer than 90 minutes, you will be invoiced for additional time at $440/hour. Invoices are sent out after the application is lodged.
I use trade mark as two words, because that is what is used in the legislation, and by IP Australia. The UK also uses trade mark as two words. Trademark as one word is used in America.
You might also enjoy this webinar on trade marks:
Michelle made the process of getting my trade mark so easy. I had zero clue about how any of it worked, so it was amazing to feel so well taken care of throughout.
Michelle, I was so impressed with your talent, your beautiful nature and generosity when helping me with all the trade marking information we went through on Zoom.
As a brand designer, it's important for my clients to have a solid business name. I refer them to Michelle for due diligence checks and trade mark services.