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Guest Post by David Koller
Having a great name that everyone will remember, as well as a unique and remarkable logo are some of the most essential aspects of running a successful business. This is how you make your brand stand out among the competition and gain interest, trust, and loyalty. Of course, just coming up with these two essential assets without a legal background can cause problems along the way.
The most common reason for businesses to trademark their names is the intention to create a brand which is going to cover a wide variety of products or services. Therefore, your name and logo must be properly protected from IP theft. When you become successful, there will always be people attempting to steal some of the spotlight by presenting themselves as you or someone similar.
The importance of trademarks and copyrights
Let’s say that you have started a business and created your own website. You must protect yourself with both trademark and copyright registration as soon as possible. You want to have full rights of your IP, as well as a strong legal ground in case someone attempts to steal it. The great thing about trademarks is that they never expire. As long as the source of your products/services is labeled by a trademark, you can adequately present your brand image to your audience.
The difference between trademarks and copyrights is that the former consist of a word, phrase, design, or symbol, and so on, which differentiate you from others, while the latter protect original works, like songs, paintings, books, and so on. Trademarks provide you with more protection. However, in order to protect your logo properly, you shouldn’t miss out on registering copyright as well.
Why you should register your name and logo separately
You need to register your business name and logo separately, because otherwise, your trademark will only apply to them being used together. In many situations (like, for example, in your marketing strategy), you will use just one element without the other. If you want your business endeavors to be simpler, protect both of these assets on their own via trademark.
It’s a very rare situation that a business decides to change its name. However, your logo may require some rebranding from time to time as you come up with new products or services. If you have your business name and logo registered together, then you will have to re-register the former whenever you make any significant changes to the latter. As a result, your rebranding efforts may require more time.
How to trademark your business name in Australia
To trademark your business name in Australia, according to its law, you might need to register it with ASIC. This will make sure that your name is fully unique. When you register with ASIC, you need to do business under that name and make it highly visible to everyone. The registration should be renewed every three years. However, ASIC does not make your business into a new legal entity. It only forbids anyone else to do business in your region using a similar name. It doesn’t hold against other areas of authority. This is why it is important to register a brand trademark.
How to trademark your business name in the United States
In the United States, the registration process goes through The United States Patent and Trademark Office. Here you can do all the research prior to trademarking as well. You can register at the state or federal level. The former only protects your trademark within a particular state, while the latter does so throughout the country. In order to get it, you have to do business across the United States or internationally. This kind of registration lasts for 10 years. It is required that between the fifth and the sixth year you file a statement proving that you are still using it.
How to trademark your business name in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, the registration goes through the Intellectual Property Office. The trademark system here is divided into classes — 1 to 34 are classes related to goods, while 35 to 45 are those related to services. You need to specify what you want to register, and for what particular class. The registration lasts for 10 years, after which you can renew it.
How to trademark your business name in Canada
In Canada, you need to go to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. You can register anything that doesn’t break the Trade-marks Act. Once the process is finished, your name will enter the Register of Trademarks. However, keep in mind that if you don’t use it for a while to do business, it may be taken off the Register. The registration lasts for 15 years, after which you can renew it. The costs of registration vary, as sometimes it is enough to pay the registration and filing fees. At other times, additional fees are included.
The bottom line
It is essential for every business to register a trademark/copyright as soon as it comes up with its own unique business name, logo, design, or any other crucial aspect. You certainly want to avoid any other businesses interfering with your success by stealing your intellectual property or using something similar in order to confuse people and steal a chunk of your customer base.
Registering a trademark or copyright provides you with strong legal grounds to defend any infringement of your IP rights.
David Koller is a passionate blogger and copywriter for Media Gurus, mainly interested in SEO, business, and digital marketing.