A key on a reflective surface

Protect your business name the key to success

By James Wan

What you need to know (in a nutshell)

  1. A trade mark is a form of intellectual property that protects your business name and brand identity from being used or copied by others.
  2. A trade mark can prevent your brand from being associated with inferior products or shady business practices and reduce the risk of customers being confused with similar products and service offerings.
  3. Before applying and paying to register a trade mark, it is important to check if your business name and/or identity is available to register by searching trade mark databases for similar trademarks. It is also recommended to consult a trade mark attorney for guidance through the process

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Despite registering a business name with ASIC and creating an eye-catching logo, you must still trademark it to protect yourself against others using the same name. Failure to do so could lead to decreased sales or even reputational damage - don’t make this costly mistake!

A great example: the Kylie v Kylie trademark case. Despite investing in product and packaging design, reality star Kylie Jenner faced a challenge when using ‘Kylie’ for her cosmetics company. This was because singer Kylie Minogue had an enforceable trademark protecting the name. This a reminder that anyone, even famous celebrities, can be vulnerable to trademark infringement.

Trademarks are forms of intellectual property that can take many shapes, from names and symbols to sounds, smells or an experience.

Trademarks are essential for protecting your business investments. Kylie Minogue’s team had to secure one so that their globally renowned performer wouldn’t be confused with a “secondary reality TV personality”. Ouch!

Trademarks safeguard reputations, revenues and products from being associated with inferior goods or dubious business practices. Louis Vuitton, Adidas and Beyoncé Knowles are just a few of the many well-known people/brands who have used opposition suits against smaller businesses to protect their trademark.

To prevent a costly mistake like Ms Jenner’s, thoroughly search trademark databases to ensure your business name and/or identity is available for registration. Once you’re confident it can be registered in the desired country(s), apply - though this process may take 7+ months!

Consulting a trademark lawyer who specialises in IP law can help simplify the trademark process and avoid later issues.

  • A trademark grants you exclusive ownership of your business name as well as other rights, whereas registering a company only gives you the right to trade.
  • A trademark can be a combination of words, logos, images and more.
  • To simplify the trademark search and registration process for yourself, it’s advisable to consult a qualified trademark attorney.