A trade mark can be a letter, number, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, aspect of packaging or any combination of these. It is used to distinguish goods and services of one trader from those of another.
In many countries, traders can acquire certain rights in a trade mark by virtue of its use. In addition, virtually all countries provide a system by which traders may formally applyfor trade mark registration.
Trade mark applications must successfully pass through an examination process to ensure they meet necessary legal requirements for registration. In particular, the trade mark must be capable of distinguishing your goods or services from those of other traders. This means, for example, that you cannot register a trade mark that directly describes your goods and services. You also cannot register a trade mark that is substantially identical or deceptively similar to an existing trade mark.
In Australia, trade mark registration is provided under the Trade Marks Act 1995. A registered Australian trade mark gives you the exclusive legal right to use, control the use, license or sell it within Australia for the goods and services for which it is registered. In contrast to the granting of a patent, a valid registration of a trade mark can provide immunity from infringing the trade mark registration of another trader for the same or similar mark.
In most countries, initial registration of a trade mark lasts for 10 years. After that time you can continue to renew your registration for successive periods of 10 years on payment of the appropriate fee. A trade mark can therefore have an infinite life representingsignificant business value. In most countries, however, you must use your mark in a bona fide way to avoid it becoming vulnerable to removal from the Register.
.smoorenburg. can attend to the application and registration of trade marks in Australia and New Zealand as well as international registrations that designate countries that are party to international agreements and protocols for registration of trade marks. We can also make use of their extensive network of overseas IP associates to pursue protection for your trade marks via registration in most industrialised countries.
.smoorenburg. can also arrange trade mark searches in Australia and New Zealand or other countries through our network of associates. Trade mark searches are usually directed to providing information regarding (a) the possibility of infringing another party’s trade mark registration, or (b) the registrability of a trade mark.