CORPORATE IMAGE AND BRANDING

A business name registration and owning the domain name does not provide you with the exclusive rights to that name.

Why protect?

A trademark registration provides the legal enforceable rights that your brand needs. It is one of the forms of intellectual property (IP), and when registered with IP Australia, converts and otherwise intangible business asset into a concrete property.  Registering a trademark is the best way to provide its owner with the exclusive right to use the trademark in relation to the goods and services covered by the registration.

It also prevents competitors from being able to register trademarks which might be considered too similar.  A brand requires investing a great deal of thought, research, time and money to design, position and market it.  While the setup costs to search and register a mark may not seem like your initial priority, bear in mind that they are a fraction of the costs involved if you are forced to rebrand, or taken to court, for infringing another brand.

Your brand is your identity

Every organisation needs a recognisable identity of some kind, regardless of your industry or company size.  This identity is your brand and the reputation it carries among clients and customers is paramount to continued success.

  • Owing the rights to your brand increases your business value.
  • Protect your brand and reputation from competitors and counterfeiters.
  • Provides a defence to infringement of other trademark registrations.
  • It can be easier to attract investment or funding when the business owns registered rights in the trademark.
  • They can be renewed for over 10 years.
Steps to securing your brand

Make sure your business can own, use and protect any new brands (trademarks) that you intend to use.  A comprehensive search by a professional is the minimum you should consider to ensure you are free to use your chosen brand at the time of launch. Only a trademark registration provides you with a statutory exclusive right to the use of that brand for the goods and services for which it is registered.

Considerations

Strive to:

  • Create a distinctive trademark.
  • Conduct full searches across legal registers such as: The trademark register, company names and domain names.
  • Apply to register your trademark.
  • Consider overseas markets and protection.
  • Consider any domain name, company or business name issues or requirements.

Avoid the following mistakes:

  • Copying a competitor's brand, logo or get-up.
  • Adopting a trademark without doing a comprehensive search.
  • Do not register domain names containing another party's trademark.
  • Adopt a purely descriptive mark.
  • Using your trademark as a generic term.
Online essentials
  • Make sure the brand is available to use, searching on databases. Register your trademark.
  • Register your trademark as a domain name if you are eligible.
  • Register social media usernames for your business.
  • Be aware of what you are agreeing to with social media terms and conditions.
  • monitor your social media pages, ensuring there is no misleading or deceptive content.
  • Get legal advice on search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns in Google or Bing.
  • Don't use a competitor's trademark visibly in your SEM campaign.
  • Respect the intellectual property rights of others, do not copy content without permission.
  • Monitor the internet regularly.
Using your brand

Once a trademark is registered it needs to be used, and used correctly, in order for it to retain its role as the bastion of the brand's integrity.

  • If a registered trademark is unused fro three years it can be removed from the register
  • It should never be used as a generic term, noun or verb; otherwise there is a risk of loosing it.
  • A trademark is an adjective that describes the source of a product, e.g. some Vibranto shoes.
  • Be proactive in monitoring your brand for misuse by others, seek advice for resolution methods.
  • You are entitled to oppose the registration of another trademark you think may cause confusion with yours.
Checklist
  • Distinguish the mark from other text: UPPERCASE, DifFEREnt TypeFACE, Itallic, Colour
  • Status of the mark:
    • Know when to use ™ as pending applications and other unregistered marks.
    • Know when to use ® as registered trademark.
    • "______ is a registered trademark of ______ Pty Ltd.
    • "Use under license from _____ Pty Ltd" where relevant.
  • Identify trademarks as adjectives:
  • Do not use trademarks as:
    • Singular or plural nouns.
Website ownership

If a contractor developed your website, check that you have obtained:

  • Ownership of any copyrighted material.
  • Warranties against third party copyright infringement allegations.
  • Confidentiality agreement before disclosing confidential business information to the contractor.

If your website includes content owned by a third party, check that you have obtained:

  • A license from the third party to use the content for the purposes you claim to be using it for.
  • Warranties against liability for third party allegations of copyright infringement.

If your website includes a third party trademark, and you use the trademark commercially, verify you have sought advice on: Whether you need to obtain a license from the third party to use the trademark in all countries where your website can be accessed.

Our services and consulting

Choosing an experienced professional to assist with your business is an important decision. You need to feel that we understand you and your business.  Feel free to contact us for a free initial consultation and ask the right questions before any commitment. We offer services and advice with:

  • Trademark registration.
  • Trademark searching.
  • Trademark portfolio management and renewals.
  • Domain name protection and potential disputes.
  • Trademark infringement and enforcement.
  • Trademark commercialisation and licensing.
  • Some offshore countries trademark services.