Deep dive into the trade mark process with SEO Shark®

Lucas Bikowski of SEO Shark®, shares insights into protecting your brand and navigating the trade mark application process.

SEO Shark® is a digital marketing agency specialising in search engine optimisation (SEO). As the world moves towards a more digital way of life the demand for digital services has increased. Therefore so has the number of businesses operating in the industry. Lucas Bikowski, Managing Director for SEO Shark®, shares insights into protecting the brand and navigating the trade mark application process.

‘As competition grew, we knew in order to protect and differentiate the brand from other businesses we needed to trade mark the name,’ Lucas explains. ‘We now have the name and logo of SEO Shark registered meaning we can prevent other businesses in Australia using our trade marks.’

Navigating the trade mark application process

For SEO Shark®, the process for filing and registering a trade mark was not difficult.

‘IP Australia helps to make the process very easy and straight forward,’ says Lucas. ‘While some businesses choose to enlist the assistance of trade mark lawyers, we simply used the tools on IP Australia’s website.’

To help other businesses like SEO Shark®, Lucas shares the steps they took to register their trade marks.

Step 1: search existing trade marks
The first step SEO Shark® took when looking to get their trade mark approved was to search for existing trade marks. They didn’t want to apply for a trade mark if another company already had the same or similar name and logo.

Step 2: register for online services
Then they registered for online services. There are a number of benefits and all the up to date information about how your application is progressing is kept here.

Step 3: get help with TM Headstart
To check if the SEO Shark® trade mark would have the chance of being registered they filed a TM Headstart request, a pre-application service that provides an assessment of an application before officially applying.

‘This process only took 2 to 5 business days, which is great if you are looking for a quick answer of how you are tracking,’ Lucas advises.

An approval here, however, doesn’t guarantee approval when you officially apply – it is more of a guide to see how your trade mark holds up and provides you with the opportunity to speak with a trade mark examiner to overcome any potential barriers.

Step 4: successful registration
After their TM Headstart was successful, they went on to officially apply by paying the Part 2 fee for formal examination. Once approved the trade mark registration was published online where other businesses can voice their concern and object to the trade mark.

‘Other companies may do this if they feel as though your trade mark is too similar to theirs,’ says Lucas. ‘This process can take several months because IP Australia wants to give others enough time to object to any new potential trade marks.’

Advice from SEO Shark® to you

Lucas’s advice for other businesses looking to protect their brand is to understand the time and costs involved in applying for a trade mark. They may not be as much as you think!

The cost of a trade mark is often a deterrent to many businesses seeking protection. But in total, the cost of protecting SEO Shark® was about $600. This provides protection for 10 years before they will need to renew.

‘It is certainly a small price to pay to ensure complete protection of the name,’ Lucas explains. ‘The SEO Shark trade mark is our identity – the way we show who we are to customers and this is something we don’t want another business to replicate.’

For SEO Shark® it took seven and a half months for their trade mark to be registered and Lucas advises preparing for this timeframe. It’s important to note however, that once your trade mark is accepted, if you find you need to take any legal action your rights start from the day you initially filed your application.

Please note: case studies are examples of the way some organisations have chosen to manage their IP. These studies don't provide advice and your experience may be different.