Who owns your brand?

Did you know that by “owning” a business name, company name or domain name, that you do not necessarily have the rights to use that name? We say “owning” because what do you really own with any of these name registrations?

Using a business name as an example, if you look at the wording used by ASIC in relation to business names (located here), it specifically states: “Registering a business name does not provide exclusive ownership of your business name. It also doesn’t prevent other people from being able to register and use similar names.”

So, the leaves the question of how do you obtain some form of proprietary ownership of your brand? By obtaining a trade mark registration, you will actually take ownership of your brand. A trade mark is a piece of intangible property, although you cannot actually hold a trade mark, it is a form of property that can be licensed or sold.

A trade mark provides security for your brand. It is a tool which allows you to more easily stop other traders starting up with the same or similar name to you, where they are involved in the same sorts of trading activities. A trade mark can also act as a tool to stop someone else coming along and demanding that you rebrand. One example of how powerful a trade mark registration can be, is that a company operating out of the USA (without having a business or company name registration here), could take action against someone for using their business or company name here in Australia – even though you were able to register that same name through ASIC. All they need is to have a trade mark registration in Australia.

We have worked with organisations of all sizes to protect their branding portfolios for over 30 years. We have also been on both sides of the fence when it comes to branding disputes. Having a trade mark in place is vital to ensuring the long term security of any trading identity and also the name or any product or service that you provide.

If you would like to speak with one of your Trade Mark Attorneys, please contact us for an initial obligation free chat.