Trade marks are some of the most important pieces of intellectual property you can own. Each trade mark represents a significant investment in development, goodwill and customer recognition. This makes them incredibly valuable to businesses of any size.
Australia’s trade mark system provides robust protection that allows you to prevent others from using your branding without permission. This helps to protect your reputation and allows you to maintain a competitive advantage.
But, trade marks must be renewed and it’s your responsibility to ensure your registration is up to date. In this article we will find out how long trade marks last in Australia and whether they can be cancelled early.
What is a Trade Mark?
A trade mark is a type of intellectual property that can be used to protect logos, words, phrases, letters, colours, sounds, smells, pictures, movements, aspects of packaging or any combination of these.
Trade marks in Australia are registered by IP Australia. Each trade mark is registered in regard to specific products and services. This grants you the exclusive right to use or licence your trade mark over those products or services. You also gain the right to take legal action against others that are using your trade mark – or a trade mark that is “deceptively similar” in relation to the same or similar products or services – without permission.
Australian trade marks only provide protection within Australia. You will need to register your trade mark separately in other countries, with each jurisdiction carrying its own application and renewal requirements.
How Long Do Trade Marks Last For?
Australian trade marks are valid for up to 10 years from the date of filing. Trade marks can be renewed at the end of the 10 year period. There is no limit on the number of times a trade mark can be renewed.
You can renew your trade marks up to 1 year before the expiry date. If you miss the expiry date, your IP can still be renewed within the 6-month grace period. Late renewals attract an additional fee of $100 for every month, or part of the month, that the payment is late.
If you do not renew your trade mark, the registration will lapse and third parties may be able to register it as their own.
Given the significant value of trade marks, most companies choose to work with IP attorneys to keep their registrations up to date. This ensures renewals are always paid on time and that the trade mark won’t be cancelled.
Early Cancellation of Trade Marks
Your trade marks provide up to 10 years of protection, but they can be cancelled early for a variety of reasons. A trade mark may be cancelled by request of the owner, by court order, or by application from a third party
The owner of a trade mark could choose to cancel a their registration early:
If the trade mark is longer going to be used for products and services
If the business is rebranding
To avoid trade mark disputes
To reduce costs associated with maintaining the trade mark
When changing strategy to target different markets, products, services or customers
When restructuring the business, such as during a merger
If the trade mark has attracted negative associations
Aside from voluntary cancellation, a trade mark may also be cancelled at the request of a third party if it has gone unused for a continuous period of 3 years (but no earlier than 5 years after the filing date, if the trade mark was filed before 24 February 2019).
A trade mark is considered to be unused if it isn’t actively appearing on any products, services or materials for which the trade mark is registered. Where a trade mark is being used for only some of the classes of goods for which it is registered, a third party can apply to have the registration altered.
Manage Your Intellectual Property with the Attorneys From Kings!
Trade marks hold enormous value. Recognisable branding is a major component of ensuring your products and services stand out, so it’s crucial that you stay on top of your rights. When you need to make sure your IP is always up to date, Kings Patent and Trade Marks attorneys can help!
Kings is an independent firm that specialises in trade marks, patent law and design registration. Our attorneys have decades of experience, allowing us to develop effective trade marks applications for all classes of goods and services.
We provide support throughout the process and can help develop your application, register your trade mark, maintain your portfolio and protect your rights from unauthorised use. Our IP attorney Brisbane team has experience in all aspects of intellectual property, so you can rely on us to ensure your portfolio is always up to date.
Contact us today if you’d like to know more about trade mark renewal, or call us on 07 3088 8009 to book a consultation!