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Trade mark today to avoid legal issues tomorrow

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Trade marking your business or product name is vital to your long term growth and protection of your market share. Imagine if one day, years after opening your business or launching your product, you receive a letter in the mail from a company with a similar name or logo stating that you are infringing their trade mark and that you need to change your brand immediately. Worse still, what if they also seek compensation for the trade mark infringement – this could cost thousands, and much more if you decide to fight it.

You can easily check trade mark availability online at IP Australia’s website. Register or enter as a guest and then begin your search by adding the first word of your business or product name into the field. The search facility allows you to search using the exact word, part of the word or provide results for anything sounding similar to your selection.

Next you need to determine what ‘class’ you want to register your trade mark in. For example, clothes and accessories are class 25 and business services is class 35. The IP Australia website lists all of the classes available and the products and services that are covered under each.

If there are no opposing trade marks, you can begin your registration either directly online or by using a trade mark attorney. You can then choose to register just the name or the complete brand incorporating the logo, name and positioning statement. If you plan to take your business or product overseas then you will also need to search for availability of your trade mark in all countries where you plan to launch. Conduct an initial search for an international trade mark using the Madrid platform.

Registering a trade mark can cost as little as a few hundred dollars but could end up being worth millions – just look at iconic brands like Coca Cola. One of the biggest assets of your business is its brand and can be one of the main reasons that a customer chooses you over your competitors.

Protect your brand, your future expansion and your intellectual property by marking your territory with a registered trade mark.

Tony Eades is the creative director for BrandManager. He has more than 20 years experience in design, advertising and client media campaigns.

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