World Intellectual Property Day falls next month on April 26, and to celebrate we are sharing some tips on how to protect your business using trade marks.

If you are a start-up, you have dedicated yourself to the ingenious idea which sparked your business.

However, each year approximately 300,000 new small businesses have to cease operations, as noted by the Reserve Bank of Australia in their Small Business Finance Roundtable report.

With the momentous occasion of World Intellectual Property Day around the corner, now is an excellent time to avoid such failure by safeguarding your business with trade marks.

Why should you care about trade marks? 

Securing a trade mark is crucial for protecting your business assets and brand. Legally, your business name can only be considered your property if it has been registered as a trade mark. Similarly, any material which distinguishes your product should also be trade marked. Such material can be diverse, ranging from your logo and brand colours to your business slogan.

Without protecting these with a trade mark, other competitive businesses can copy your work or even register them as their own intellectual property (IP). This would be a big disadvantage, requiring you to extensively revise your current branding.

Moreover, simply registering your business name without applying for a trade mark is problematic because this does not allow you to stop others from using the same name. Only a trade mark gives you the legal right to do so.

Three tips to trade mark your business

  1. It is essential to seek legal advice customised to your business needs to ensure your valuable ideas, products and branding are trade marked using the correct legal channels. Such customisation differs depending on the legal structure of your business. For instance, sole traders require different legal customisation to companies.
  2. Since trade mark laws may change from state to state, schedule a meeting with an intellectual property lawyer so that your registration process aligns with ACT IP Laws as well as protects your business interests in other regions.
  3. Often a business will need tailored IP licences to suit their needs. Lawyers can utilise their years of expertise to develop the best strategy specific to your business.

These tips can help cement your start-up’s success for years to come.