Naming your business is your most important branding exercise. Before you commence trade, substantial effort and time is put into thinking up a suitable business name, something that gives your product or service the edge and a name that you are proud to be associated with. Your business name and identity are your most valuable assets and worth protecting. The same effort and value apply for any slogans, taglines and catch phrases developed in association with your brand.

Without trade mark protection, you have limited rights to stop someone else from using your business name, logo or taglines for their own business.

Here are four reasons why all business owners should consider protecting their brand with a trade mark.

1. A trade mark legally protects your name or logo and stops others from trading with it.

The main aim of trademarking is to protect the identity of your goods and services and prevent others from imitating your brand.

Registration of a company name or a trade name does not give you any exclusive ownership or proprietary right to use that name. Only a trade mark can give you this kind of protection.

If you decide not to bother with a trade mark, your rights to stop someone trading in a manner similar to you are severely impacted. If you do not lodge your trade mark and someone else starts using your name or mark in a way which impacts your business, you can only take steps to prevent them from continuing to trade in that manner if they can be convicted of trying to pass themselves off as you and impacting your goodwill.

The process of seeking such protection is slow, expensive and arduous. However, if you register your trade mark, you avoid these arguments in their entirety. The reason being is that you own the exclusive rights to commercially use, license and sell the trade mark. This means no one else in Australia can commercially use your trade mark within the class of goods and services it is registered under.

2. With a registered trade mark, you obtain the benefit of exclusive use of that mark (words or symbol) throughout Australia.

If you need exclusive use of your trade name, logos or taglines, you should register them as a trade mark. A registered trade mark under the Trade Mark Act 1995 gives you the exclusive legal right to use, license and sell your intellectual asset in Australia.

3. If you get trade mark protection, you are protected in all States and Territories of Australia for a period of 10 years from the date you applied for the trade mark (with the option of renewing for periods of 10 years).

4. Being an Australian trade mark owner makes it easier to apply for registration in other countries so that your brand is protected on an international level.

As your business expands, so does your trade mark. International registration can be a valuable marketing tool to show your exclusive and legal ownership of your brand, products, and services on a larger scale.

You spend so much time building your business, so your IP is just as valuable. The least you can do is protect it with a trade mark.

At businessDEPOT Legal, we can guide you through the trade mark registration framework and provide a tailored approach to suit your trade mark protection needs. Whether it be from simple registration through to the strategic development of your brand portfolio nationally and internationally.

For personalised advice, please do not hesitate to get in contact with Cameron Hancock and the businessDEPOT Legal team on 07 3193 3075.