FOR IP PROFESSIONALS

Benefits of trade marks

A trade mark can be your most valuable marketing tool. The public identifies a certain quality, reputation and image with goods and services bearing a trade mark. The more successful your business is the more valuable the trade mark becomes.

If you are thinking about a new product or service and you want to establish an image for it, you should consider a distinctive trade mark under which to market it.

Registered trade marks

As the owner of a registered trade mark you:

  • have the exclusive right to use your registered trade mark as a brand name for the goods or services specified in the registration
  • have the exclusive right to authorise other people to use your registered trade mark for the goods or services specified in the registration
  • have a registered trade mark that is personal property and can be sold
  • have a registration that usually covers the whole of the Commonwealth of Australia
  • may give the Australian Customs Service a notice objecting to the importation of goods that infringe your registered trade mark
  • can be in a stronger position to stop other people from using your trade mark as their brand name on the same or similar goods or services of your trade mark registration.

Find out how having a registered trade mark can benefit your business in our case study - IP Rights in a Business Name.

Using the ® symbol

Once your trade mark is ® registered, it is good business practice to place the ® symbol immediately adjacent to your trade mark. This puts others on notice to respect your trade mark and aids in protecting your valuable intellectual property.

The symbol ® is used for registered trade marks. If your trade mark is registered overseas but not in Australia, you can also use the symbol, but you need to show the country of registration close to it. 

Is it an offence to use the ®, if your trade mark is not registered?

Yes, however we do not police or investigate such matters.  If you have concerns about someone using the ®, you should consider contacting the Australian Federal Police.

There are no penalties for using the TM symbol.

Unregistered trade marks

It is not necessary to register a trade mark to obtain some rights to it. Trade marks that are not registered may be protected under common law and enforced using the provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and other state based fair trading legislation.

Protecting your trade mark without the benefit of registration may be more difficult and expensive.

You don't have to register your trade mark in order to use it. The symbol TM can be used with a trade mark at any time.

Last Updated: 27/3/2014

Meet Kate
Master of Business Administration

Assistant Director International Policy & Cooperation since 2005
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