Guide to the Trade Mark Registration Process
The journey of a trade mark from application to registration is a somewhat lengthy one. All trade mark applications in Australia have to go through the governing body, IP Australia. The IP Australia trade mark application and registration process is generally as follows:
1. Your trade mark application is lodged;
2. Your trade mark application the goes through an examination process;
3. Following the examination process (and provided there is a clear report), the trade mark will be advertised in the Official Journal of Trade Marks, upon which it will undergo an opposition period;
4. If there is no opposition at the end of opposition period, the trade mark proceed to registration.
The time frame for the process, if everything goes smoothly is about 7.5 months. Yes, that’s almost 230 days. So how does one obtain rights to a trade mark before it is registered? Here are some things that you should be doing while your trade mark registration is pending:
Use your Trade Mark
Start building up your brand from day 1. You do not need to wait until your trade mark receives the coveted “registered” status before you begin to use your trade mark. Once you are satisfied that your trade mark is unique and distinct, you should begin introducing it to any and all potential consumers. Brands do not become trade marks simply because it gets “registered”, it becomes a trade mark when consumers associate your brand with the goods or services your business supplies. Your brand achieves “recognition” when the market deems it so.
Use the ™ symbol
When your trade mark is registered, the trade mark holder is entitled to place the ® symbol next to their trade mark. This basically indicates to anyone who is looking that the trade mark has been registered.
While you can only use this ® symbol in cases of a registered trade mark, the ™ symbol is the one that you should display before your trade mark registered. The ™ symbol can be used with an unregistered trade mark at any time – even before you lodge your trade mark application. This shows your intention to claim the trade mark as yours and allows you some rights under common law to protect and enforce your trade mark.
Ultimately, the goal is to always have a registered trade mark as this is the simplest and most straightforward means of protecting and enforcing your brand. However, we understand that the process isn’t always easy and there are many technicalities that you may need to navigate. So, if you are looking to get your trade mark from ™ to ®, give us a call and we would be more than happy to help you to officially add another asset to your business balance sheet.
Trade Mark Enquiry
For more information on our trade mark services and quotes on our professional fees, please contact us or visit our quoting page. One of our experienced trade mark lawyers will contact you to explore how we can improve your business and add to your balance sheet by realising your intellectual property through trade mark registration.
Phang Legal continues to provide assistance to small business in the areas of trade mark registration and enforcement.