Registering your business name is a crucial action when setting up or redesigning your business, but if you want to gain better protection of your brand or logo you should consider registering it as a trademark. Unlike registering a business name, registering a trademark gives you a legally enforceable way to protect your business name, logo and branding designs. And once you know no one can imitate your brand identity, a trademarked design can be used as an incredibly effective marketing tool.

Before registering a trademark you’ll have to do some research to ensure your business name or logo won’t conflict with any existing trademarks. Do a thorough search on the Australian Trade Mark Online Search System to see if your design or name infringes on any other current trademarks.

Once you’re comfortable your name and design is unregistered, ask yourself if it clearly distinguishes whatever goods or services you’re selling from others in the same marketplace. This is another key criteria to successfully registering a trademark. It is difficult to register a trademark that is too similar to one already in the database. For this reason you should try to avoid words or phrases that are common in your business area – for example ‘cool’ for air conditioning manufacturers or ‘eco friendly’ for recycling companies.

When registering a trademark you have to provide a description of what goods or services the trademark will cover. These goods and services will be sorted into one or more of 45 classes. To help you decide what goods or services to list think about the nature of your business, and consider what you want your business to be known for, what products or services you provide, and where the bulk of your business income comes from.

Once registered, your trademark is protected across all Australian states and territories for 10 years provided you pay renewal fees. However if you don’t use your trademark for three years or more, another applicant can apply to have your trademark deregistered.

If you would like more information or assistance in registering a trademark, the lawyers and accountants at The Quinn Group can help. Contact us on 02 9223 9166 or fill out an online enquiry.