You might be surprised to hear it, but a trademark does not have to be formally registered.
That is, marks (words, images, etc.) used in commerce and trade such as product names and slogans can potentially receive the same level of legal protection as a registered trademark, despite never being registered at the trademark office.
Naturally, this may make you think: why bother registering at all?
While it may sound desirable to skip the trademark registration process and the resulting paperwork, there are many good reasons to register. Here are some of the biggest reasons you should consider registering a trademark.
1. Clearly Identifying it as Your Trademark
Registering your trademark makes it easier to protect it and enforce your rights over it. If you’ve already registered a trademark, then all you need do is provide a copy of the registration details.
If you haven’t already registered a trademark, then you’d have to prove and establish that you’ve been using the mark, show evidence of use and show that you have established a sufficient reputation with that unregistered trademark.
Proving this can be difficult as generally, you will need much more than a few screenshots of your website and invoices. The documentation and evidence required to satisfy this can include records of customer and business communications, contracts, full accounting records, and advertising expenses, among other things.
2. Confirming its Validity
As well as providing evidence of use, the trademark office or the court will also need to confirm that the brand, product name or mark is actually valid. Because you never registered your trademark you cannot be sure of its validity, meaning it may or may not actually be protected under the law.
Getting the trademark registered from the beginning is useful because you will learn about its legal validity straight away and you can deal with any issues before it’s too late.
3. Increase the value of your company/ business
With a company brand protected by a registered trade mark you will increase the overall value of the company. This means you will get more money from a potential buyer when selling your company.
4. Deterring Competitors from Trying to Use It
Finally, a registered trademark will appear in the publicly searchable trademark database – IP Australia’s ATMOSS.
When other businesses are looking for potential trademarks, they will generally perform a trademark search for all identical or similar sounding names.
Naturally, if your trademark appears in their search, they will know it’s taken. If your trademark is not registered, then it will not appear in the trademarks database, meaning someone may be more likely to attempt to register your trademark, intentionally or otherwise.
IP Consultants Make It Easy
It may be tempting to try and establish your own trademark without registering it, but this carries many avoidable risks. In the end, you’re much better off registering it immediately – this gives you an extra sense of protection as well as peace of mind.
Registering a trademark and getting it through IP Australia’s review process can be time-consuming and tricky. Our expert IP consultants can provide direction on the validity of your trademark and handle the registration process and any issues IP Australia raises.
Speak to one of our specialists today and let us know how we can help you protect your business.