Registering a business name just in the form of words does not automatically give you protection for your associated logo regardless of whether or not the name is part of the logo. The same can be said for the logo, registering the logo does not automatically give you protection for the name. It’s usually recommended that you register both your name and your logo as a trademark which would provide full protection and complete brand exclusively, preventing others from limiting your brand and ultimately raising the value of your business.
On occasion, it may not be possible to register both, so if you have a choice to either register your name or your logo we recommend registering your name as a trademark as this provides stronger protection when it comes disputes as in the case of someone else using the same or similar trademark to yours. Your chances of success on a trademark infringement will likely be higher if you have your name (in plain words) registered as opposed to just your logo.
If you have just your logo protected, and a competitor has the same or similar name, chances are their logo could be entirely different to yours. This will allow them to argue that they are not using anything confusingly similar to yours and on the basis of this they can justify that there is no trademark infringement.
What does IP Australia check when making your trademark application?
IP Australia, the Australian government body responsible for registering intellectual property rights examines your trademark application against the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) and will cross-reference and check your application to make sure
- it contains all the correct information
- meets legislative requirements
- that someone else has not already registered your name as a trademark
- your name or logo does not contain a common surname or geographic name and
- that your name is not too descriptive of your goods or services.
Before you trademark the name of your business, search to check if someone else has not already registered your name or a similar name as a trademark in Australia. Again, always get help from a licensed trademark attorney who understands the field before going ahead with registration.
Make sure you own the copyright of your Logo
It is also important to ensure that you own the copyright of your logo before you file it with IP Australia. Logos often attract copyright protection automatically, which means there is no copyright database to check. It can be a case of using reverse image lookup tools to see whether or not the same image or logo has been used or appeared before.
If you used a graphic designer or sourced any image online make sure you have confirmation in writing that you own the copyright in your logo. This could have serious legal implications down the track if you have a registered trademark logo that you do not own the copyright to. If you create the logo yourself, of course, you will own the copyright.
If you are considering registering your trademark and expanding your business interests its always best to seek professional and expert advice to ensure your intellectual assets are protected in Australia, New Zealand or further abroad.