So, Intellectual Property (IP) Australia approved your application for a trademark. Congratulations! It is not always the case that an application will be successful, so you are well on your way to preventing your competitors from using your trademark. There are, however, a few steps you should remember to ensure that your trademark remains protected. After all, as the trademark’s owner, you have the responsibility to protect your intellectual property from infringement.

Let People Know You Own the Trademark

A registered trademark authorises you with the right to use the ® symbol in all of your material. You are more likely to prevent competitors copying or imitating your trademark by showing that you are its owner. Legal documents, although uncommonly used, can help in highlighting your ownership of a trademark. For example, if you trade online, it is quite common to have a Website Terms of Use that outlines your ownership of intellectual property, including a trademark. You may also want to include details of your ownership of a trademark in e-mail disclaimers or client contracts.

Stay Up-to-Date with Trademark Registrations

As you may already know, IP Australia publicises proposed trademarks. Once a trademark applicant receives approval, it will appear in the Australian Official Journal of Trade marks. You can take advantage of this Journal by regularly checking the proposed trademarks. By keeping yourself informed, you will be able to lodge formal objections when you believe an application may infringe your trademark rights.

Using your Trademark

A trademark may be in jeopardy if it is unused for a period of three or more years. Non-use is a possible cause for another party to request for IP Australia to remove your trademark. If another party makes an application to remove your trademark based on non-use, you will need to oppose the application to prevent removal.

Renew your Trademark

The rights you have received for your initial trademark application are valid for a period of 10 years. What this means is that for you to maintain your trademark, you need to be aware of when it will expire and to subsequently renew your application in a timely manner.

Updating your Trademark

If your business activity changes or if you expand your business activity to other areas, you may consider whether or not your trademark will still provide you with sufficient protection. For example, you may decide to manufacture another range of goods that falls outside of the original class of goods that you registered your trademark. It is sensible to consider then expanding the classes for which you receive protection.

Conclusion

Although you have been successful in your application, it is your responsibility to ensure that your trademark remains active and to prevent infringement. If you have maintained these steps and do still find that another party is using your trademark, contact one of our specialist trademark lawyers on 1300 544 755. We would be pleased to help and talk you through what options are available to you to protect and enforce your rights.

Kristine Biason

Next Steps

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