What would you do if someone came along and opened a business with the same name or something very similar? Unless you have protected your business name there’s not much you can do about it. 

Imagine that, all your hard work, long hours and dedication may be jeopardised.   

Perhaps you have registered your business name and you think you’re protected? Think again….
Understanding how to protect your brand can safeguard your future.   

Your business name, logo and tagline are all forms of intellectual property (IP). In 2010 the value of IP in Australia was $170 billion. 

Types of IP include:

  • A Copyright which protects artistic, literary and musical works
  • A Patent which protects inventions and innovations
  • Registered designs that protect the appearance of manufactured products
  • Trademarks protect brands, logos and slogans etc

Registration of a business name or company does not, in itself, give you proprietary rights. You don’t own the name and won’t be able to prevent others from using it.   

A business name is your trading name only. It should be registered in each state you are operating in.
A trademark identifies your product or service and distinguishes it from similar products or services of other trades. It gives you the legal right to exclusively use or control the use of the trademark for particular goods or service. 

Learning how the legal land works when it comes to IP is worth the investment of your time, after all, without your brand, what do you have? 

A couple of examples:

A NSW clothing company Tsubi, registered their trademark in Australia to protect their rights. They then began using and promoting their label internationally. A legal battle began with a shoe company Tsubo, who owned the registered trademark in the USA, with a resulting decision that Tsubi had infringed their trademark rights of Tsubo by using a name that was “deceptively similar”. At huge expense, Tsubi was required to re-brand for the international marketplace. 

Online companies need to be careful too. A small Sydney swimwear company “Absolut Beach” was sent into liquidation when they had to close their internet business after Vin & Spirit, the makers of Absolut Vodka, sued them for domain name and trade mark infringement. 

There is a lot to learn, but getting your head around what you need to do to protect your brand could be the best investment you’ve ever made.   

If you would like more information, check out www.ipaustralia.gov.au

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