What is a trademark?
A trademark distinguishes your goods or services from that of a competitor. It grants you the right to use a number, letter, logo, word, sound, picture, shape or other product. Once registered, a trademark is enforceable by law and provides you with exclusivity to license, sell or use the product commercially for services or goods that the trademark is registered under. A good example of a well-known trademark is the flying kangaroo on Qantas.
Benefits of a trademark
A trademark has the potential to be your most valuable and powerful commercial marketing tool. The person in the street recognises a company’s trademark that appears on its goods, property and services and associates it with a particular image, reputation and quality. The value of your trademark increases as your business becomes more successful.
Other benefits of a registered trademark are:
- Your goods or services will exclusively have the rights to bear your registered trademark.
- You can sell your registered trademark.
- You can agree to other people using your trademark.
- With a registered trade mark you will be better placed to stop a competitor use your trademark.
- The Australian Customs Service can be provided with notice of your objection to the importation of any goods that bear your trademark.
Once your trademark has been registered it is advisable to put the ® symbol next to your trademark as it will help protect your intellectual property.
How to make a trademark brand name
You can either come up with the idea yourself or employ the likes of a graphic designer who specialises in designing brand names and logos. The brand name and logo must represent your businesses identity.
The logo needs to incorporate what your brand represents in a distinctive way such as an indication of quality.
The brand name could be descriptive making it clear the products and services you are selling. It could be evocative whereby it merely associates itself to the brand but stops short of giving a precise description of the products and services. It could be abstract whereby the nature of the business is not referred to at all.
When deciding on a brand name you should keep things simple, distinctive and consistent. Do your market research with the public seeking their opinion on potential brand names.
You can deal with the trademark application yourself or employ a firm of trademark lawyers to deal with the whole process from application to registration. Trademark lawyers can advise you on the best way of dealing with the trademark application to avoid any problems that you may have encountered by doing it on your own.
A trademark lawyer will also provide guidance about inherent registration, undertake the searches to make sure you are not infringing any other person’s trademark and even put together a strategy for trademarks that are difficult to register.
Image Courtesy: Microsoft