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Trade marks: a simple introduction

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Trade marks are essential for every business. A trade mark can protect your brand from copying by others. Did you know: registration of your business or company name in Australia does not protect that name from copying by others. A trade mark registration is recommended to protect your brand which can be a name, logo, slogan (and other intellectual property). The first step is to obtain protection in Australia where a trade mark can be registered in one or more of 45 different classes (categories) of goods and services. Registration in the correct class is essential. A trade mark attorney who deals with trade marks on a daily basis can assist with obtaining the widest possible protection within each class of goods and services. The trade mark registration process in Australia takes around seven months from start to finish and getting your application underway ASAP is the best option, as once your trade mark is filed any subsequent applications for a brand the same or similar should be rejected by the Australian Trade Mark Office. Once registration is achieved in Australia, International trade mark registration is next. Each country has its own practice and procedures required to obtain a trade mark registration. A Madrid Protocol international trade mark application can save thousands and is intended to be an efficient and cost effective way to gain International trademark protection in a number of countries with a single application. The Madrid Protocol is an international trade mark agreement that allows the registration of a trade mark (which is already filed in Australia) in the over 70 countries who are a member to the agreement. To proceed with a Madrid Protocol trade mark application it must be based on an existing Australian trade mark. The application is lodged to an international bureau who administers all Madrid Protocol applications and your trade mark is then sent to each separate country for examination and hopefully registration! The time required to complete an international trade mark can differ significantly. If the correct procedures are not followed the application can be held up by many months until all filing deficiencies are rectified. A trade mark attorney will ensure that all requirements are met and the application will proceed without delay. MacMillan Trade Marks is a well established Australian company which specialises in this area and offers fast and low cost trade mark services in Australia and internationally. We provide a free trade mark kit and will assist in the protection of your brand in Australia and internationally. -Tom Rinder is a trade marks attorney with MacMillan Trade Marks (www.macmillantrademarks.com.au)

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