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Are you looking to start your own or expand your existing plumbing business?  If so, it is important that you consider how to protect your plumbing business’ intellectual property. Your business’ intellectual property is what enables your customers to identify you and your work. It is an unsung hero.

You have, no doubt, invested a significant amount of your time and energy into building your business’ reputation, and developing relationships with your customers. It is important that you have a working understanding of what your business’ intellectual property is and how to protect it.

What is the Intellectual Property of my Business?

Intellectual property is a complex area of law, and it can be tricky for business owners to understand it completely. The term intellectual property is an umbrella that covers patents, copyright, trade secrets and trademarks. Each type of intellectual property is a unique area of law and it is unlikely that each one will apply to your plumbing business. That said, you should be aware of your business’ most valuable assets that you would like to protect to help you maintain a competitive edge in your industry.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is any mark that you use in the course of running your plumbing business to represent your work or product. It can be a letter, number, style, diagram, picture or even smell, provided it is used to represent your products or work.

Why should I protect my trademarks?

Trademark protection is not automatic in Australia. If you do not apply to register your trademark, then anybody can use your name or logo in any situation. Consequently, it is possible that another plumbing business may use your business’ trademark and exploit your brand to gain an advantage in the market.

It is even possible that another entirely unrelated business enjoys how your trademark looks, and uses it as their own. If you do not take steps to protect your trademark, it is likely that another business can apply to register it ahead of you. What this means is that not only could another business profit from the reputation and brand recognition surrounding your trademark, but they could prevent you from using it and even take action against you if you continue to do so.

How can I protect my trademarks?

Protecting your plumbing business’ trademarks involves registration with IP Australia. IP Australia will then compare it with other registered trademarks to confirm it is not directly conflicting or is not so similar that it would confuse customers. During this period, other businesses can oppose your application. It is then strongly encouraged that you seek legal advice before beginning this process to help guide you through and explain any unexpected hiccups.

Conclusion

Whether you are starting your own, or looking to expand your existing plumbing business, it is sensible that you take steps to protect your intellectual property. A good starting point is applying to IP Australia to register your business’ name and logo.

If you have any questions about intellectual property or need advice in starting your application, please get in touch! One of LegalVision’s experienced Trademark Lawyers would be delighted to assist.

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