How to Register a Trademark? (2019 Update)
Want to protect your brand? Read here for what you need to know about how to register a trademark and the protections registration can provide you here.
So, you have spent countless hours working on the branding for your small business. Also, you have meticulously selected the colour, the shape and composition of your logo. Moreover, you’re about to take the next step and expand your business nation-wide. Protecting your brand should therefore be an important part of your expansion strategy. Learning how to register a trademark is highly beneficial to your small business, without it, your brand is vulnerable to misuse or worse, registration by another.
What Is a Trademark?
Trademarks are a valuable marketing resource that promotes and protects your products and services. Thus, any feature or combination of features that distinguishes your products or services from your competitors, can be registered as a trademark. Also, trademarks can be a particular name, word, phrase, letter, number, shape, smell, sound, colour, image or aspect of packaging.
Why Register as a Trademark?
If you are intending to commercially market your unique product or services you will need a trademark. Only a trademark can provide proprietary protection for your brand and prevent any unauthorised use by others in Australia. Furthermore, as a trademark owner you have the exclusive right to use, sell and licence your trademark. Moreover, registering your brand is economically beneficial to your business, and will protect your brand from any misuse or registration by your competitors.
How to Register a Trademark
Step 1. Conduct a Search
Before applying you should conduct a search of the Australian Trade Mark Online Search System to see if your trademark has already been registered or if there are any similar trademarks.
Step 2. Applying
Anyone can make an application, however the trademark’s owner must make the claim. The owner can be:
- an individual;
- a company;
- an incorporated association; or
- a combination of the above.
The application is online and it must include:
- Your name and contact details;
- A representation;
- A description of the applicable goods and services;
- A list of the relevant classes; and
- The filing application fee.
Step 3. Determining the Class
To register a trademark you will need to determine the classes of goods and services appropriate to your business. This is critical, since you can only commercially utilise your trademark within the classes it is registered.
Notwithstanding, determining the class of goods and services for your business can be a complicated process. However, if you are unsure, it is best to get in contract with a trademark lawyer for relevant legal advice.
Step 4. Examination
Upon receiving your application, your trademark request will be examined. Unless there are grounds for rejection or not in accordance with the Act, your application will be accepted. Moreover, an examination report will be sent to you that identifies any problems that exist in your application.
It will be rejected if it:
- Contains prescribed or prohibited signs;
- Is unable to be represented graphically;
- Is not distinctive;
- Scandalous or contrary to law;
- Likely to deceive or cause confusion; or
- Identical or similar to registered trademarks.
Keep in mind, that this process takes usually 3 to 4 months after filing the application. Therefore, your trademark will be registered if there are no grounds for rejection. Furthermore, it will be entered into the Australian Official Journal of Trade Marks (AOJTM) and listed under the ATMOSS.
Final Step. Registered Trademark = Protected Trademark
Upon registration, it is protected for a term of 10 years and this can be renewed. If you intend to commercially expand your business internationally, you will need to make further applications. Thus, as the owner of a trademark you now have the confidence to expand your brand nationally and internationally.
Zac is a consultant at Lawpath, Australia’s largest and fastest growing online legal platform. Since joining Lawpath, Zac has assisted 1000s of startups and small business’s with their legal needs.