Trademarks are words, names, symbols, devices, headings, labels, signatures, letters or numerals or any combination thereof, used by manufacturers of goods and providers of services to identify their goods and services, and to distinguish their goods and services from goods manufactured and sold by others. From this function it follows that a trade mark must be distinctive or distinguishable among different products or services.
Advantages of having your trademark registered
1. Securing Exclusivity
Registering your trademark is the quickest and most cost-effective way to ensure legal exclusivity for the use of your name or logo etc. Registering a trademark for your business or product name is similar to obtaining a certificate of title in relation to land.
Registering your trademark significantly reduces the risk of being prevented from using your name or logo by other traders. One of the most emotionally draining and expensive things that can happen to anyone who owns a brand is receiving a “cease and desist” letter from a lawyer which requires you to stop using the name which you thought you owned.
2. Geographical Coverage
Registering your trademark usually gives you nationwide protection instead of rights that are restricted to the specific areas or regions in which you trade).
Further, if you want to expand overseas, this gives you a good platform to obtain rights in other countries – even before you commence trading in those countries.
3. Deterring and Preventing Others
Trademark registration deters other traders from using trademarks that are similar or identical to yours in relation to goods and services like yours (referred to here as “conflicting trademarks”). This benefit manifests itself in a number of ways:
- Before other traders choose their brand names: Being able to use the ® symbol puts others on notice of your rights, and being registered means that others can find your trademark when searching the official register before choosing to commence using a particular name. This makes it much less likely that they’ll choose to use a conflicting mark in the first place.
- When other traders seek to register their brand names as trademarks: Having your trademark on the register makes it likely that trademark examiners will refuse to register conflicting marks. If (despite this) another trader is able to convince a trademark examiner to accept the mark for registration, having a prior registered mark gives you a strong right to oppose the registration before it’s officially entered on the register.
- When you discover another trader using a conflicting mark in the market place: Having a registered trademark makes it much easier, quicker and cheaper for you to prevent other traders from using conflicting trademarks.
4. Controlling the Use of your Brand by Others
Registering your trademark makes it a lot safer and easier to license the use of your trademark to others (e.g. manufacturers, distributors, franchisees etc).
5. Capturing the Value of what you create
Holding a registered trademark significantly increases the value of your brand to potential purchasers, and hence any purchaser of your business is likely to pay much more for the goodwill that you build up.
6. Securing the Co-operation of Third Parties
Registered trademark owners are much more likely to secure the co-operation of third parties in the protection of their rights.