In The News

Tue 8 Aug 2017

Two Things to Know About Trademarks

Intellectual Property
person writing in notebook with coffee and croissant

Trademarks are the identity of businesses, brands and individuals. More and more, people and companies are relying on trademarks to protect their image, and maintain airtight branding.

Whether you are a small trader or an international corporation, it is imperative that you understand the basics of trademarks, so that you don’t lose your own image, or worse, have to front court for your choice of branding.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a form of protection for your business. Trademarks also function to protect consumers from confusion. They act as a guarantee that the buyer is getting what they pay for, from the correct source.

Trademarks may be used for colours, logos, sounds, numbers, catch-phrases, designs and more.

You may be familiar with Cadbury’s colour purple, or the Vegemite tune; “Happy Little Vegemites”. These trademarks act as assurance and recognition for branding, through easy and common association.

These forms of legal protection are intended to prevent confusion between your brand identity, and other similar companies. It may also prevent confusion for the consumer.

 “Champagne”, for example, is trademarked for sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France. This trademark ensures that this form of bubbly is produced according to certain methods, and from a certain geographical location.

A trademark is provides legal protection for your brand from third parties, and gives you the exclusive rights to your brand, such as the name, look and feel of your business. 

Why are trademarks so important?

A trademark means your brand is recognisable, and that consumers are getting a fair deal.

Almost anything can be trademarked, and without proper research, you’re one court case away from having to redesign your entire image.

Imagine pouring all your resources into branding your business, only to discover you’re impinging on someone else’s trademark? This is a real possibility, and it’s important to do your research before you create an association between your brand and an image you may not be able to use.

As an example, a small Australian supplement business named “A-Sashi” was completely shut down, after the Nestle company won a legal battle in which they claimed “A-Sashi” was an infringement of their trademarked supplement brand “Musashi”.

A trademark also ensures a continuous relationship between your brand and your customers.

Those who are familiar with your business will recognise your trademark, be it your logo, ad jingle or colour theme.

Having a strong association between your trademark and customers means an increased sense of trust and loyalty.

How can I protect my business?

Whether using trademarks for your own business image, or avoiding courtroom confrontations, it’s important to do some research.

Searching the ASIC register for company names must be thorough, and your entire image must be non-threatening to other similar functioning businesses. A Google Search is also recommended.

Seriously Trademarks are specialists in the field of trademarks, and can help you with trademark registration, protection and other questions surrounding this field.

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