What to do with Your Registered Trade Mark
There’s a popular myth about trade marks – that once registered, always registered. Many business owners are diligent about their trade mark or their brand when they are trying to get it registered but many tend to take a back seat once their trade mark receives the coveted “registered” status. As those who have attempted to register a trade mark would know, simply using a trade mark doesn’t guarantee ownership rights over it. So why assume that the opposite is true? That if you own a trade mark and do not use it, you’re still guaranteed ownership rights over that trade mark
The thing about trade marks is this – it’s as much about “usership” as it is about “ownership”. So, in saying this, here are 3 quick tips to maintaining and protecting your registered trade mark.
The first step is simple, just use it. If you do not use your trade mark for a period of 3 years, your trade mark is at risk of being removed. Other businesses can apply to have your trade mark deregistered for non-use and if you don’t put up a fight, you’re likely to lose your trade mark.
Secondly, protect your trade mark. Most often, the businesses that will infringe on your trade mark and attempt to register a similar trade mark are likely to be businesses within your industry – your competitors. As a registered trade mark holder, you need to be actively protecting your trade mark from infringement and opposing any other trade mark applications that are similar to yours.
Finally, renew your trade mark. Trade mark registrations need to be renewed every 10 years. If you’ve been using your trade mark and are planning to continue using your trade mark, make sure that you pay the renewal fee, registration of your trade mark does not continue automatically or indefinitely.
Being proactive about using, protecting and maintaining your registered trade mark ultimately forms part of good business practice in that at its core, it’s about knowing your industry and keeping your competitive edge. Your registered trade mark is your competitive edge. It gives you exclusive rights to that trade mark in Australia, it’s a valuable asset of your business and as the owner, you should be mindful of treating it as such. At the end of the day, you either use it or you lose it.