Why you need to have your trade mark registered

Trademarks-Wadeson, trade marks, trademark

A trade mark is defined as a way in which a unique product or service is identified to the public. It is one of the most important marketing and business tools that you can own but it’s often forgotten.

As the primary way your customers or clients associate your product or business with your brand, it’s essential you protect it from unauthorised use by others. To help keep you and your trade mark safe, here are five key pain points owners often deal with when they mistakenly forget to register their trade mark (and the benefits you’ll gain by avoiding them).

1: If your business is not trade marked, people may use your brand without your authorisation

Unless your trade mark is registered, competitors may use your brand without consent. The impacts of this can be severe. They can range from lost income, as customers mistake your competitor for you, to increased risk of liability and permanent damage to your brand. By registering from the get-go, you ensure that competitors can never use your brand, keeping you in control.

2: Your business can get lost in the crowd (and lose revenue!)

If you don’t register your trade mark, your business may never stand out from the market, keeping you from financial gain. By registering, your business will always stay unique and sends a message that you’re willing to protect your business and its financial viability.

Registration also increases the valuation of your business. So, the more you protect your trade mark now, the more valuable it will be for you in the long run.

3: You might run into trouble overseas

If your trade mark isn’t registered, competitors around Australia and internationally may not even be aware it’s in use. Once registered in Australia, you are protected as per your registration from international businesses registering in Australia, no matter their weight (just think about the infamous ‘Burger King/Hungry Jacks’ scenario).

In addition, once your Australian registration is complete, international trade mark applications become much simpler!

4: Someone else could register your trade mark

Imagine you’ve been doing business under your trade mark for years when, suddenly, you’re sued for trade mark infringement. Surprise! Someone else has registered your trade mark for their business.

There is only a two-month period in which you can oppose the competitor’s registration. If you don’t then you might find yourself in a tricky situation, and you may be forced to rebrand and re-establish your entire business. If only you’d registered when you first started out. The earlier you register, the better. Once it’s registered, a competitor cannot register a similar or identical trade mark in the same class as your business, preventing unnecessary costs in the future.

5: You’ll lose the ability to control your brand growth and consistency

Failing to register your trade mark keeps you from comfortably investing time, money, and effort to expand your business. Registering your trademark gives you the exclusive right to commercialise, allowing you to license, expand, or sell your business as you see fit and create gainful brand recognition.

IP Australia is the government body tasked with administering intellectual property (IP) rights and patents and trade marks. There’s plenty of helpful information on their website www.ipaustralia.gov.au and while the process for registration can take several weeks, it’s surprisingly cheap and can be completed fully online.