A trade mark is a sign which differentiates one trader’s goods or services from those of competitors in the marketplace. Almost any kind of sign can be a trade mark – words, letters, numerals, logos, sounds, colours, shapes and scents can all be trade marks.
Some prominent trade marks include the golden arches for McDonald’s, the Nike swoosh, the “Oh what a feeling” Toyota jingle and the Tiffany blue.
Well-known trade marks mean well-known brands. Brand power cannot be underestimated, especially today, where consumers are hyper brand conscious. We all know that brands sell.
Trade Marks enable consumers to identify what they are purchasing and consuming. If you want to know how strong a brand is, then all you need to do is look at their trade marks. Think about the most powerful brands today: Apple, Google, McDonald’s, IBM, Zara, Ferrari. Think about the logos associated with each of these big brands. Each of these logos are protected by their respective owners through trade mark registration and are enforced rigorously by their respective trade mark lawyers.
Benefits of Trade Mark Registration
- Owners of a registered trade mark can assert their monopoly against any unauthorised third party use of a deceptively similar trade mark
- Owners of a registered trade mark can place the ® symbol next to their registered trade mark
- Owners of a registered trade mark can place a watch notice at Customs which will help protect its goodwill and reputation from counterfeits and other infringing imports
- If you are creating a new brand name, avoid generic and descriptive words and phrases which are usually difficult to register ie. “The Best Clothing Store”, “Awesome shoes”
- If you are an owner of a registered trade mark, conduct regular searches to make sure that no one is “freeriding” on your reputation and brand
- If you are planning to grow your business/brand overseas, then make sure you obtain trade mark registration in that jurisdiction before you sign any licence agreement
- Advising on the registrability of trade marks
- Preparation and lodgement of Trade Mark applications in Australia and New Zealand
- Preparation and lodgement of Trade Mark in overseas jurisdictions
- Responding to Examination Reports/Office Actions
- Filing and defending opposition proceedings
- Preparing assignments, licence and coexistence agreements
- Conducting trade mark watches and searches
- Advising on possible infringement of existing trade marks
- Registering trade marks with Customs
- Defending removal applications