Trade mark basics
Business names and trade marks are two very different things but many people don’t understand the differences.
Let us explain a little more:
A business name is an administrative requirement and doesn’t stop others from using the same or a similar name.
A trade mark, on the other hand, gives you exclusive rights to use, license, or sell the mark. You can also prevent others from using it. A trade mark doesn’t have to be a name either. It could be your logo or picture, a sound, scent, shape (think Toblerone) and many more.
Not all business names are eligible for trade mark protection, however. If your business name describes your business's goods or services or is a common term in your industry, your application may not be successful. Using our TM Headstart service will allow you to have an assessment undertaken by our examination team before you file.
Do you need a trade mark?
A trade mark is not compulsory and there are common law protections for those who choose not to register a trade mark.
However, there are many benefits to registering a trade mark. A registered trade mark:
- is listed on a public database and can act as a deterrent to others
- allows you to take legal action if someone infringes on your mark
- can be easily bought, sold, or licensed
- is a defence against infringement accusations.
How do you apply?
There are two ways to apply for a trade mark: via a standard application or through TM Headstart. TM Headstart provides you with an assessment of your trade mark application and helps identify any problems before you file publically. While it does cost more, TM Headstart can save you money in the long run by identifying problems early. This way, your application is less likely to be rejected and you can avoid paying more money to re-file.
The key differences between a standard application and TM Headstart are outlined below.
|Standard application||TM Headstart|
starts at $250
starts at $330
|Pre-assessment by an examiner|
|Feedback within 5 days of request|
|Speak directly with an examiner|
|Amend your application prior to filing|
|Receive an immediate filing date|
|Formal report within 13 weeks|
What other help is available?
Our new and improved Trade Mark Assist is an interactive tool designed to educate you through the application process and allows you to seamlessly file and pay for your trade mark application.
Trade Mark Assist is now being hosted on Business.gov.au as a joint government initiative. We anticipate that this initiative may provide Australian Small Business a modernised and customer centric experience when interacting with government services.