Should a Logo Be Registered as a Trademark?

In an ideal world, it is preferable to register both your name and your logo as a trade mark.  It is important though, to understand that registering a name (in plain words) does not automatically give you protection for the logo that might include the name. At the same time, registering a logo does not automatically give you protection for the name (in plain words).

While it is preferable to register both, it is not always possible.  Once a trade mark application is filed, it is run through an examination process by IP Australia, the Australian government body responsible for registering intellectual property rights.  A trade mark examiner will formally assess your trade mark against the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth). This simply means that the examiner will check your application to make sure it contains all the correct information and meets legislative requirements.

Three of the most common objections are:

  1. someone else has already registered your name as a trade mark
  2. your name is too descriptive of your goods or services
  3. it may contain a common surname or geographic name.

If a descriptiveness objection is raised against your trade mark, it is advisable to file your logo, assuming it is a distinguishable logo.    Mark My Words Trademarks Services will be able to give you expert advice on whether they think your name is too descriptive.  We also offer a free trade mark search to check someone else has not already registered your name or a confusingly similar name as a trade mark in Australia.

Avoiding Trade Mark Infringement

It is important to note that registering your name (in plain words) as a trade mark does provide stronger protection when it comes to battling trade mark infringement.  If somebody else uses your trade mark or a similar trade mark to yours for similar activities, you can sue them for trade mark infringement. Your chances of success are likely to be much higher if you have your name (in plain words) registered as a trade mark as opposed to 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 give them more room to argue that they are not using something confusingly similar to your trade mark and therefore argue there is no trade mark infringement.  Whereas, if you have your name (in plain words) registered as a trade mark, it doesn’t matter what their logo looks like – they are simply using your name or a confusingly similar name so your infringement case is much stronger.

Get your Name Checked

Before filing a trade mark application, it is advisable to engage Mark My Words Trademarks Services to undertake a search of the trade mark register for you.  We can carry out a search on your name and logo.  It is important to note, however, that 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.

It is also important to ensure that you own the copyright in your logo before you file it with IP Australia.  If you create the logo yourself, of course you will own the copyright but if you engage a graphic designer or source any image from a third party, 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 trade mark for a logo in which you don’t own the copyright.

Let us help you

If you require assistance Mark My Words Trademark Services can provide you with competitive estimates and expert advice on ensuring you have the right protection in Australia, New Zealand or any other country.

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