Why Should a Business Register a Trade Mark?
A trade mark is a registrable mark which provides the trade mark owner with exclusive rights to use the mark or sign. Typically, a trade mark can be a logo, word, picture or aspect of packaging that is registered by a business to provide a unique or distinguishable mark which associates a product or service with a business and is recognisable to consumers and other individuals.
Registered trade marks
By registering a trade mark, a business is afforded the exclusive right to use, licence and sell the mark. This is important for business owners, as registering a trade mark can be a valuable marketing tool that allows a product or service to be readily identified.
It is important to be aware that a trade mark registration only lasts for ten years from the filing date. Therefore, for businesses that have a registered trade mark, they should be aware that it expires and must be renewed at the cessation of a ten year period.
Registering a trade mark can be a complex task as there are 45 ‘classes’ of goods and services that are mark can relate to. It is possible for a trade mark to be registered in numerous ‘classes’. For businesses registering a trade mark, it is important to consider the most appropriate classes to register the mark in. This can be challenging as products and services have the potential to develop, therefore it may be helpful to engage professional advice to assist in the registration of a trade mark.
When should a business register a trade mark?
Notwithstanding the exclusive right a registered trade mark affords, registering a trade mark deters competitors from misusing a businesses brand. In the event a competitor uses a registered trade mark of a business, they may be found to have engaged in ‘passing off’ which is an offence under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. By registering a trade mark, a business acquires protection under the Trade Marks Act 1995 and the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 against others using the trade mark. This is vital for new and existing businesses as it provides brand protection.
For emerging new businesses, it is important to note that registering a trade mark may be a timely process, therefore it is important that individuals entering a new business venture are aware of the trade mark registration process.