If you’ve read my last post, you’d know that I recently received my Certificate Of Registration Of Trade Mark. This means that I can now start using the small ® symbol next to my business name.
Even after registration, you still need to be pro-active in protecting your trade mark. The following tips should provide a starting point to help provide that protection.
Although this post and my previous one is based on my experience in Australia, I think you’ll find certain points that are relevant no matter what country you reside in.
10. Understand The Scope Of Your Rights
As the owner of a registered trade mark you have the exclusive right in Australia to control use of your trade mark to identify and promote the goods and services for which it is registered only. You can authorise or license someone else to use it, you can take action against someone who copies your trade mark and you can apply to the Australian Customs Service to prevent importation of goods which would infringe your trade mark.
9. Be Prepared To Protect Your Trade Mark
A trade mark is a personal property right, which means it is your responsibility to take action to protect it. Staff at IP Australia cannot provide you with legal advice. If you think someone is infringing on your trade mark rights, you should seek legal advice from an IP professional as soon as you can.
8. Use It Or Lose It
If a registered trade mark is unused for three years it can be removed from the Register – This means you’ll lose your right to that trade mark.
7. Display Your Rights
Show your customers and competitors that you are a smart operator by using the ® symbol next to your trade mark whenever it is used. (Upon your application for a trade mark, but prior to registration, you can use the ™ symbol)
6. Be Aware Of The Global Market
There is no such thing as a ‘world’ trade mark. Your trade mark registration is valid only in Australia (or the country in which you specify). If need be, you can also apply for trade marks for protection overseas.
5. Read Your Mail Carefully
Now that your trade mark is registered you may receive correspondence from companies seeking money for a trade mark renewal or publishing fee. These requests are normally bogus. The only organisations who will send you legitimate invoices are IP Australia and your advisor if you used one.
4. Monitor The Market And Your Competitors
It is in your interest to know what’s going on around you and your trade mark. You should stay aware of new and existing trade marks being used in your industry. You can start by checking IP Australia’s freely available online database for new trade marks being lodged. There are also some ‘watching services’ offered by IP professionals who will scan the database and the market, for you.
3. Be Opposition Savvy
Conflicts between trade marks are usually discovered by IP Australia during examination, but you are also entitled to oppose the acceptance of another trade mark that you think infringes upon yours. There is a three month period after the acceptance of a new trade mark application in which you can lodge an official opposition action.
2. Make Sure You Renew
A trade mark can live forever. Provided your trade mark is in active use, your registration may continue indefinitely as long as you renew it every ten years.
1. Keep IP Australia Informed
You don’t want to miss out on any correspondence from IP Australia – especially a renewal notice. So it pays to keep IP Australia up to date with any changes of address or details of other changes that are significant.
If you have any other tips that you’d like to share, leave a comment as I’d love to hear them.