A trademark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.
A trademark is not a trade name. A trade name is the name under which you conduct your business. It can only be registered under the Trade-Marks Act if it is used to identify wares or services.
A registered trade mark gives you the exclusive right in Australia to use it as a brand and to legally stop imitators. Unlike a business name, a registered trade mark can provide legal protection for your brand and enable you to stop others from trading with it.
Once registered, the trade mark is protected in all Australian states and territories for an initial period of ten years. If international registration is required, the trade mark must be registered in each country in which you want protection.
Be aware that registration of a business name, company name or domain name does not in itself give you any proprietary rights – only a trade mark can give you that kind of protection. Ensure you have exclusive use of your name now and in the future throughout Australia by registering your business name as a trade mark .
If you are unsure of what or how to register, seek the advice of your accountant, lawyer or trade mark attorney.
The benefits of having a registered trademark as compared to a common law trademark include:
- Constructive notice nationwide of the trademark owner’s claim.
- More evidence of the ownership of the trademark.
- Jurisdiction of federal courts may be invoked.
- Registration can be used as a basis for obtaining registration in other countries.
- Registration may be filed with the Customs Service to prevent importation of trademark infringing foreign goods.