Looking to set up a business as a mechanic? If so, it is important that you consider how to protect your intellectual property or trademarks. Intellectual property is a broad term that comprises various legal concepts, including copyright, trade secrets and trademarks to name but a few. As a result, it can be difficult for business owners to develop an understanding of how the law can be used to protect their business. However, although the statutory regimes may be difficult to understand, there is no doubt that without protecting the intellectual property of your business, you may jeopardise the profitability of your business.

Why should I protect the intellectual property of my business?

Intellectual property can be broadly defined as anything you create or your customers use to associate your product with your business. Therefore, the intellectual property of your mechanic business will be anything and everything unique to your business that you use to attract customers. Therefore, if this is not protected you leave your business open to the potential of having everything unique to you copied and stolen.

On the face of it, you would think that if any other business copies your name, steals your logo, uses your catchphrase or copies your advertising, is breaking the law. Unfortunately, this will not necessarily be the case, as there are a significant number of statutory regimes that regulate what can be defined as illegal use of intellectual property and what is not. Consequently, depending on whether or not your intellectual property is copyright, trademark or trade secret, you will have to go through separate processes to ensure it is protected.

How can I protect my intellectual property?

As the owner of a mechanic business, it is likely that the majority of the intellectual property you will want to protect will be trademarks. The most common form of trademark will be that of the brand name and logo you use to identify your business. These are important symbols for your business, as it is what your customers think of when they come to you. It is a mark that represents all of the hard work you have put into establishing and developing your business, and most importantly, it represents you and your integrity.

In this day and age, some people will do anything to cut corners and gain a quick dollar. Therefore, it is a rather common occurrence to have a lazy business owner look to gain customers quickly through taking advantage of the reputation of anther business. The easiest way they do this is by copying an unprotected trademark. Once copied, they attract customers from the established business, often doing an inferior job, thereby not only taking your hard-earned customers but damaging the reputation of your business as well.

How do I ensure others do not use my trademarks?

In Australia, all trademarks must be registered with IP Australia. New trademarks are added to a list, which is public, and notifies all business owners of which trademarks are protected. If a trademark is not on IP Australia’s registry, then it is not a protected trademark and, therefore, can potentially be used by any business. Also, let’s say you have a trademark and another business registers it, it will then become their trademark. So you can see that the entire reputation of your mechanic business depends on you protecting your intellectual property.

The process of registering a trademark is a long and arduous one, and it can also prove to be quite costly if it is deemed that your trademark resembles one that is already on the registry. Therefore, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a legal professional before you begin the process, as they should be able to tell you whether or not your trademark is registrable with IP Australia.

Conclusion

If you are looking to start your own mechanic business or expand your already existing mechanic business, it is important that you consider how to protect your intellectual property. The reputation of your business is founded upon customers understanding that your trademark signifies your reputation and work ethic. Were this to be taken from you by some unscrupulous person within your industry, it could have lasting negative consequences for both your finances and reputation. Therefore, you should consider protecting your trademarks as soon as practicable. If you have any further questions regarding how to protect the intellectual property of your business, feel free to call LegalVision for a fixed-fee quote.

Adi Snir

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