Registering and enforcing a trade mark is the best way to protect your brand. Once you’ve worked out what trade mark you want to register, and what goods or services to cover, there are a several other questions to ask.
Who owns the Trade Mark?
A trade mark can only be owned by an entity or entities with legal personality. This means that a trade mark can only be owned by:
- An individual (e.g. sole trader);
- A company;
- An incorporated association; or
- Any combination of these.
The trade mark owner should be the entity who uses the trade mark. In the case of a company, the correct owner is the company and not the directors or shareholders. In a partnership, the owners will be the individual partners.
Since a business name does not have legal personality, it can’t own a trade mark. The correct owner would be the person or company that owns that business name.
What address should I use?
Trade mark details, including the owner’s name and address are publicly available. Most individuals prefer to use a Post Office Box as their address so that their residential address is not made public.
Many unscrupulous organisations use the publicly available address to send unsolicited correspondence to trade mark owners, requesting payment for registration services. These organisations are most frequently based in other countries. Almost every trade mark owner will receive one or more of these letters, so it’s important to be aware of this.
IP Australia provides information on unsolicited IP services. Some of the organisations known to send these scam letters are:
- Commercial Centre for Industry and Trade (based in Switzerland)
- Company for Economic Publications Ltd (based in Austria)
- Company for Publications and Information Anstalt (based in Liechtenstein)
- Edition The Marks KFT
- European Institute for Economy and Commerce – EIEC (based in Belgium)
- Federated Institute for Patent and Trademark Registry, based in Florida, USA
- Gaia Almanach LTD
- Globus Edition SL (based in Spain)
- B.F.T.P.R – International Bureau for Federated Trademark & Patent Register
- INFOCOM (based in Switzerland)
- Institute of Commerce, Trade and Commerce (based in Switzerland)
- International Patent and Trademark Register based in Nurnberg, Germany
- IP Data s.r.o (Czech Republic)
- IT & TAG (based in Switzerland)
- Objective Concept (based in France)
- Patent & Trademark Organisation LLC (based in USA with a street address in Melbourne)
- RIPT – Register of International Patents and Trademarks TM Collection (based in Hungary)
- TM-Edition Ltd. (based in Hungary)
- TM Worldwide (based in Hungary)
- TMP, Trade Mark Publishers, Austria but with a street address in Sydney
- UPTS s.r.o (Czech Republic)
- World Patents Trademarks WIPT s.r.o (Czech Republic)
- ZDR-Datenregister GmbH (based in Germany)
How will I enforce my Trade Mark?
Once you’ve registered your trade mark, it’s important to address infringement when it does occur. Failure to do so may weaken your position and damage your brand. Using a trade mark monitoring service can help to keep abreast of potential conflicts so they can be addressed before it is too late.
If you need any assistance with monitoring your trade marks or registering your business’ name and/or logo, why not contact LegalVision on 1300 544 755 to get a fixed-fee quote from one of our Client Care team.