Trade Marks FAQs


A trade mark is a sign that is used to distinguish the goods and services of one trader from another.  A trade mark can be a letter, number, word, phrase, logo, graphic, sound, smell, shape or any combination of these things.  A trade mark registration does not protect the idea, innovation, design or process of a product, it ONLY protects the name/brand/identifying feature.

  1. To prevent others from registering a similar trade mark
  2. To prevent others from using your trade mark or something similar
  3. To secure a powerful monopoly of your brand
  4. Prevent infringement – a registered trade mark is a powerful deterrent
  5. Adds value to your business – a registration is a tangible asset that can be sold, licensed or assigned to other parties.
  6. Importantly it provides you the peace of mind to invest in to your brand/trade mark given you own the rights exclusively over all others in your industry.
  • NO.  Business or company name registration does not provide you with the proprietary rights over the name – only a trade mark registration affords you that right.  Your trading name registration will not prevent others from registering your trade marks – you must file for trade mark registration to prevent that from occurring.  
  • If you do not file for registration of your trade mark, it is possible that another party will obtain registration of your brand or something similar, and should this occur you will have a legal battle over ownership which could have been avoided if you had filed your application for registration first.
  • Words that other traders should freely be able to use in the normal course of trade, such as descriptive terms or common trade expressions that refer to your goods or services, i.e. the word “marketing pro” for marketing services or the term “denim” for clothing.
  • Common surnames
  • Geographic locations
  • Common colloquialisms and references to quality

It is always worth obtaining our advice as to whether or not your brand is capable of distinguishing

In Australia, the registration process will take at least 8 months.  In New Zealand, registration can be achieved within 5 months.  The USA generally 9 – 12 months…it varies for each country, but for example in China it can take at least 2 years for examination to occur!  So it is best to talk to our team to ensure the best filing strategy based on your export plans.

Yes. You can file your trade mark in most countries all over the world, with many registration rules being similar to that of Australian trade mark practice.  Raven IP can certainly assist you in this regard.  However you will need a substantial budget to do so.  Unfortunately you cannot lodge one trade mark and achieve ‘world-wide rights’. You must file individually in to each country (or via one of the multi-country systems such as the Madrid Protocol or CTM) see our International Trade Marks page for more detail.

All trade marks are registered for a period of 10 years from the filing date of the application.  The trade mark can subsequently be renewed for further periods of 10 years for as long as you require.

If you plan to sell or promote your product or business to an overseas market, it is important that your trade mark is protected.  Failure to protect your trade mark in some overseas markets can prove fatal to your business success.  For example, you could be excluded from using your own business name or even worse – face the risk of infringing a registered trade mark.  This is particularly relevant in countries which have a first-to-file requirement.

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