Your business name is one of the most recognisable parts of your branding. Your name is front and centre in all your dealings, so it holds incredible power with your customers, competitors and industry. If you want to maximise the value of your business name then you’ll need to protect it with a trade mark. In this article we’ll explore the benefits of trade marking a business name and how it can increase the value of your company.
What Is a Trade Mark?
A trade mark is a type of intellectual property that is used to identify unique products and services. Trade marks can be a letter, number, word, phrase, logo, image, sound, shape, scent or movement.
The main purpose of a trade mark is to help distinguish the products and services of one business from another. The trade mark itself must consist of a recognisable sign (such as a logo, slogan or business name) that can be used to identify the owner of a particular product or service.
Registering a trade mark grants you the exclusive right to use, sell, licence and commercially exploit your trade mark in Australia. You’ll be able to prevent others from using your trade mark without permission, and you may be able to pursue legal action against businesses that infringe your trade mark.
What Is a Business Name?
A business name is the name you use to identify your business. In Australia, all business names need to be registered with ASIC, unless you are trading under your own name. Your business name refers to the business itself, and not to your products, services or brands. All business names must be unique – you can search the National Business Names Register to see if your business name is available.
It’s possible to register your business name as a trade mark to prevent competitors from registering identical or similar trade marks. If you want to register your business name as a trade mark, you also need to make sure the trade mark is available. You can search the Australian Trade Mark Register yourself, but it’s strongly recommended that you ask a trade marks attorney for help. Performing a comprehensive trade marks search is complex, and professional support ensures you won’t be infringing on anyone else’s rights.
The Benefits of Trade Marking a Business Name
Australia’s trade mark system provides robust protection for business names, branding, logos, slogans, products and services. Registering your trade marks provides a few major benefits:
- Realise the value of your business. Your business name is one of the major ways customers recognise your products and services. A business name can hold substantial value amongst your customers, competitors and suppliers, and a trade mark is the best way to realise that value.
- Protection against unauthorised use. A recognisable brand is one of the most valuable assets a business can have. Unfortunately, other businesses may be tempted to take advantage of your reputation to sell their own products and services. This can confuse customers, dilute your branding and harm your reputation. But, if you have a registered trade mark, you have the right to prevent others from using your branding, and you may be able to claim damages for any harm that’s done to your business.
- Exclusive rights to use, sell and licence your trade mark. Registering a trade mark grants you exclusive rights to use, sell and licence your branding. This is valuable in day-to-day trading, but it can also allow you to do things like licence your products to third party distributors.
- Prevent competitors from registering similar trade marks. While copying your trade mark is an infringement, competitors can also infringe your rights by using deceptively similar trade marks. Deceptively similar trade marks can damage your business and seriously impact your bottom line. If you have a registered trade mark, you are entitled to prevent other businesses from registering similar trade marks that could dilute your branding.
- Protection throughout Australia. An Australian trade mark provides national protection for an initial period of 10 years. That protects you in your local area, but it also prevents other Australian businesses from registering similar trade marks. This can be a major benefit if you plan to expand into new areas or establish a presence in other Australian states. Registering an Australian trade mark is also the first step in obtaining international protection through the Madrid Protocol.
Protect Your Business with a Trade Mark Attorney from Kings!
Trade marks are some of the most valuable pieces of intellectual property in your business. Protecting your trade mark preserves that value and allows you to prevent others from damaging or diluting your brand. If you’re ready to protect your business then get in touch with the trade marks attorneys at Kings! Kings is an independent IP attorney Brisbane firm that offers intellectual property and trade mark protection. Our experienced trade mark, patent and design registration experts can provide support for drafting, registering and defending your business’ trade marks. Contact our patent law specialists today to find out more or to make an appointment with our team!