How to Trademark a Business Name (2019 Update)
When you register a business name, this doesn't prevent it from being misused by others. Read about trademarking your business name in this article.
After careful thought, you’ve finally come up with a name for your business. You’ve registered your business name, but this doesn’t mean you get exclusive use of the name. The only way you can do this is by trademarking your business name.
In this article, we’ll tell you why registering a trademark for your business will help you protect your business name and also how you can do this.
Why Register a Trademark?
Trademarks are a valuable marketing resource that allow you to promote and protect your products and services. Any feature that distinguishes your products or services from your competitors can be trademarked. A trademark grants the owner the exclusive right of a particular name, word, phrase, letter, number, shape, smell, sound, colour, image or aspect of packaging. As a trademark owner, you will have the exclusive right to use, sell and licence your business name.
Can you trademark a business name?
Only a trademark can provide proprietary protection for your business name and also prevent others from using it without permission. Iconic brand names such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Apple, and Google are all protected by trademarks. Registering your business name as a trademark will enhance the value of your business and also protect your name from any misuse by your competitors.
How to Trademark a Business Name
Before you apply
Before applying, you should search for your business name on the Australian Trade Mark Search. From this, you’ll see if your business name has already been registered or if there are any similar names that have been trademarked.
The owner of the business name must apply for a Trademark. The owner can be:
- An individual
- A company
- An incorporated association
- A combination of the above
The application is online and also must include:
- Your name and contact details
- A representation of the trademark
- A description of the applicable goods and services
- A list of the relevant classes
- The filing application fee
Determining the Class
When applying to register your business name as a trademark you will need to determine the classes of goods and services appropriate to your business objectives. Goods and services are categorised into 45 classes and must be precisely identified in the application. Further, this selection is important as it ensures that only you can commercially use your trademark within the classes it is registered.
Determining the class of goods and services for your business can be a complicated process. It is important to know the appropriate classes for your business. You cannot alter the class of your trademark once you’ve submitted the application. If this is the case, you should contact a trademark attorney.
Once you’ve submitted your application, it will be examined. Your application will be accepted unless the application has not been made in accordance with the Act or there are grounds for rejection. An examination report will be sent identifying the problems or success of your application.
The business name will be rejected if it:
- Contains prescribed or prohibited signs
- Cannot be represented graphically
- Is not distinctive
- Scandalous or contrary to law
- Likely to deceive or cause confusion
- Identical or similar to registered trademarks
This process takes usually 3 to 4 months after filing the application. If there are no grounds for rejection, your trademark will be registered. It will also be entered into the Australian Official Journal of Trade Marks (AOJTM) and listed under the Australian Trademark Search.
Registered Trademark = Protected Business Name
Now that your business name is a registered trademark it will be protected throughout Australia for an initial period of 10 years. You can also continually renew your trademark after this. As a trademark owner, international applications of your business name will be quick and simple. With a trademarked business name you can now promote, expand and also enhance the value of your business locally and globally.
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.