Protecting your intellectual property against infringement from competitors should be a priority. A trade mark professional can advise you on the best way to register your trademark so that your application is successful and offers you the full protection you need. As you will see, this is particularly important for small businesses.
Investing your time and the modest fees involved in the registration will protect your brand from infringements and you from potentially expensive legal disputes. Failure to trademark your business name may mean you’re unaware of existing trade marks that you could be infringing on. The trademark registration process includes a system where your application is advertised so that others can dispute it if you’re inadvertently using an existing mark. This is an important step to check you can lodge a claim.
When you register your name, brand, logo, slogans or other intellectual property you’ll instantly protect your brand in these ways:
- It affords you the right to use the trademark.
- It gives you a solid defence if another entity alleges you infringed on a mark of theirs.
- It gives you the right to object to the use of any similar marks if a competitor starts to use them. You want to avoid any confusion in the marketplace between your business and others that might be imitating or adopting your trademarks.
So, having a trademark will secure your rights when it comes to your intellectual property and prevents costly disputes if another brand infringes them.
Note, there are some aspects of common law that affect the powers of unregistered trademarks. If someone has used an unregistered mark, but they can show that they have accumulated a reputational value to it, they do have some ownership rights. They may be able to prevent others using the name if they can show the competitor is trying to be perceived as part of the same brand or have an association with it. In these cases, a brand with an unregistered trademark could take action against them. It’s not advisable to rely on this to protect your product, however.
Small businesses, in particular, should invest in trademark registrations as they don’t have the same access to legal and monetary resources if they want to defend their intellectual property in any way. If they inadvertently infringe on another brand’s trademark, they will also be liable for any settlement or dispute costs.
Don’t think because you are just starting out that a trademark is not something you should prioritise. Plenty of start-ups have ignored this little legality and had to face serious legal consequences once they have already invested heavily in their product. It would be a shame to discover that someone else has already licensed a competing product. Register your trademarks as soon as you can. You want to do everything you can to avoid costly trademark disputes.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) offers a system that is easy for small businesses to register their company name. When you register your name with the ASIC, it limits the protection of your business name. Make sure you check all the details the ASIC provides when you log your business name. One of the features of this document is that you’ll need to confirm that you’re not infringing the trademark rights of any other brands. Hence, you need to pursue a trademark registration application to establish this.
Registering your trademark needn’t be a costly procedure when you work with a trademark professional. It will give your brand the protection it needs and will reassure you to focus on other aspects of your business.
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Founder Dinis Guarda
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