Do you run a restaurant, cafe or food business? From registering your business’ trade mark to patenting your recipes, protecting your intellectual property is an important step to prevent other food businesses imitating your brand or stealing your food and beverage ideas. Many business owners forget that registering a business name does not automatically grant rights to use the name. This article will explore how to register trade marks for your food business.

1. Identify the Trade Mark to Apply For

A trade mark is a sign used in trade to differentiate your goods or services from the goods and services of others. If you own a restaurant, the trade mark would likely be the name of your restaurant. Many franchises already have their brand name registered with a trade mark, for example, Subway, McDonalds and Dominos Pizza. However, if you are setting up a new restaurant, it is important to consider a trade mark in addition to a business name and Australian Business Number.

2. Identify the Owner of the Trade Mark

A trade mark registration entitles a person to intellectual property rights which means that the owner of the trade mark must have a legal personality. This means that a trade mark owner can be a person or an incorporated entity, but not a business name. If sole trader owns the restaurant with a business name, the owner of the trade mark is the person who owns the business. If two different entities own the restaurant, such as two people working in a partnership, the owner of the trade mark will be each partner who owns the restaurant.

3. Identify the Correct Class to Include in your Trade Mark Application

In most cases, the appropriate class to include in the application is class 43. Class 43 includes services provided by businesses that offer food and drink and covers most hotels and restaurant services. Class 29 includes foods such as dairy, meat, processed foods, fish and preserved foods. Class 30 covers foods such as spices, bakery goods and confectionery.

4. Find Out if Your Trade Mark Satisfies the Substantive Requirements for Registration

Your trade mark application may not be accepted if your trade mark consists solely of a word or words that other traders may need to use about other restaurants. For example, if your trade mark consists only or solely of either of the following words or phrases: “Chinese Restaurant”, “Pizza and Pasta” or “Wine Bar”. A trade mark specialist can assist you with your application to ensure it is not refused on these grounds.

Key Takeaways

LegalVision has a team of trade mark lawyers who love food, eating out and helping restaurant owners with their business. If you need more information about the trade mark registration process and whether or not your trade mark will satisfy the requirements for registration, contact us for a fixed-fee no commitment quote by either filing out the form or calling on 1300 544 755.

Anthony Lieu
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