You have just created a business model and now you need to ensure that your name or logo will be eligible to be registered as a trademark. This is a critical step for any new business owner to ensure they are protected from others using their name or logo.

What to keep in mind when creating a prospective business name or logo?

In order to register a business name or logo as a trademark, you must comply with the requirements set out in the Trade Marks Act 1995. In order for your prospective business name or logo to meet the requirements, you must ensure that your business name or logo is distinctive and not descriptive.

What does it mean to be descriptive?

A descriptive name or trademark is one that clearly describes the good or service to which it relates. In accordance with IP Australia, any prospective business name or logo that indicates the kind, quality, intended purpose or value of goods or services, or are common surnames or geographical names, will not be eligible to be registered as a trademark. An example of a descriptive business name might be Sydney Electric and Gas Company. 

What is wrong with descriptive names or logos?

The problem with a descriptive business name or logo is that a similar business may not be able to operate without infringing your trademark. If a trademark, such as #1 Printing Shop Surry Hills could be registered, it would make it difficult for competing businesses to market themselves as a ‘printing shop’, as this would directly infringe the registered mark. On top of this, other printing companies may wish to promote themselves as the ‘#1’ printing company and will no doubt wish to advertise their location, which may also be ‘Surry Hills’. 

How do I determine a distinguishable business name or logo?

Your prospective business name or logo must be distinguishable in order to be registered as a trademark. You must select a business name or logo that other traders will not use in their ordinary course of business. IP Australia has set out the following examples to help business owners determine what is distinguishable.

  • Invented words, such as APPLX
  • Suggestive or emotive words, such as FORTUTIOUS DOG for pet food
  • Words that don’t describe what they will be used on, such as ANVIL for laptops. 

What steps do I take when I have determined my unique business name or logo?

Once you have determined a prospective business name or logo, you should search the trademark database to see if it is available. Searching the database will inform you as to whether this name or logo is already registered or if one similar is currently awaiting registration. A search can be done by going to www.ipaustralia.gov.au and using the TM Check.

Conclusion

Once you have determined that your trademark is available, your next step is to begin the application to register a trademark. Registration of your trademark will allow you to be protected from other businesses attempting to use your business name or logo. Our team at LegalVision can help you make sure that your name or logo is distinguishable and properly registered as a trademark.

Daniel Smith

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