Do you really “own” your company name? Might be time to register a Trade Mark

TrademarkBy Garry Same, Taylor Smart, Lawyers, Perth.

Clients frequently carry on their business activities using their Company name as their trading name, on the understanding that they have a right to use that name, to the exclusion of all others. Unfortunately, the registration of a Company name does not provide the corporation with absolute proprietary rights for the use of that name for trading purposes.

In order to secure proprietary rights to a name or mark throughout Australia, a corporation can apply to register that name or mark as a Trade Mark, under the appropriate class or classes of their business activity. Once the Trade Mark has been registered, the owner obtains the exclusive right for the use of that name or mark for goods or services under the class or classes in which it has been registered.

Where a conflict arises between the owner of a Trade Mark which is the same, substantially the same or similar to a Company name, the owner of the Trade Mark can force the Company to cease trading under its name, or change its name. Whilst it may be possible for the Company to argue that the Company name was a long established name, which had gained a reputation in the market place (establishing a common law Trade Mark), the legal battle that would be involved in proving its case may cost the Company dearly.

When applying to register a new Company name, a client should be advised to first undertake a search of the Trade Mark register in order to ensure that it does not conflict with an existing Trade Mark. Furthermore, the registration of the Trade Mark could be a valuable asset for the Company’s balance sheet.

Company owners should be advised to give serious consideration to lodging a Trade Mark to secure and protect its name, not only in Australia, but throughout the world, particularly if the Company is an exporter of goods and/or services.

The MSI Global Alliance team have considerable experience in undertaking availability searches for proposed Trade Marks and the preparation and lodging of Trade Mark applications.

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