Business Names, Company Names and Domain Names do not offer you any protection in relation to the name. Trademark protection does!
Trademark protection can be an inexpensive exercise or process, but is also very complex for the inexperienced.
No matter how small or large your business is, you need to protect your business reputation or you risk losing your rights. At the very least, you should be aware of trademarks and how trademarks effect your business.
A registered trademark is a tradeable piece of property, meaning as it is an asset, you can apply your own dollar value to the trademark and include on balance sheet as an 'Intangible asset' of which you would need to discuss with your accountant.
Obtaining registration of a trademark in Australia can be a rather lengthy process.
Currently. if no objections it can take 9-12 months to achieve formal registration, providing there are obstacle to overcome. This does not mean you have to wait this long in order to start using the trademark.
You can commence using your trademark - with the ™ symbol as soon as you so desire, providing you have ensure your brand is not going to infringe upon any other brand that is either registered, or pending registration in Australia.
The use of the ™ symbol basically means that your trademark is pending, and it also acts as a notice that you are claiming rights to the brand in relation to the goods or services with which it is being used to identify.
Once your trademark becomes formally registered in Australia you may start using the ® symbol.
As previously mentioned, it can be a rather lengthy process to obtain registration of a trademark, so it is prudent of you to ensure that you have undertaken the required checks and that you will be able to continue using your mark, without having to possibly change it after investing many dollars.
HOW SECURE ARE YOUR CURRENT BRANDS?
Many of you will have seen numerous media reports or articles over recent months regarding companies involved in costly defence of their intellectual property.
Whilst defending your unregistered (Trademark) name is of course sometimes your only recourse, this could have been avoided if the trademark or Business owner had ensured that their current Trademark, packaging design , or logo was protected.