“Is my shit good enough?
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
This article is about helping people decide if they should protect their brands by registering them as Trademarks. If you want more info, you may find it useful to click the underlined words as we have provided links that should help. Enjoy!
Cost to register a Trademark
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had a shit-hot business idea that I immediately felt protective of. Someone is going to steal it right? Regardless of if you are starting up a business or already operating one, trademarks are something you should consider, but it’s not free and there are no refunds if your shit-hot idea never takes off.
The cost aren't huge, but if you registered every brain fart, you’ll need some deep pockets. DIY Online trademark application costs about $250 - $330 for a single class. For comparison say you have a series of trademarks (multiple logos and words to register) across say two classes, it would cost about $1000.
Renewal costs $400 every 10 years per Class.
Put the renewal in your diary to remind you. Lapsed trademarks become fair game for anyone to snap up and hold you to ransom
Click HERE for more information about how to apply online yourself.
Cost NOT to register a Trademark
If your brand is something that you can "take it or leave it" then the decision is simple. Don’t bother with a trademark.
If you believe your brand is worth something or, it would be super inconvenient to have to rebrand, NOT registering a trademark can cost you “Your Entire Brand”. This means a competitor may beat you to it, block you out or, even force you to rebrand.
“But I was first”, we hear you scream. If you can prove this you may have a fair case through a common law claim. It might cost a little more than the $250 - $330 you could have originally spent.
Think of your registered trademark a bit like a BIG Whacking Stick. Someone encroaches you can legally whack the infiltrator over the head with it. No trademark, No “Whacking Stick!”
Understanding trademarks is important. For one, they are used to legally distinguish your goods and services from those of another business.
Apart from the legal protection (The Whacking Stick), good trademarks are assets to the business, they hold value and can significantly improve the value of your goods and services.
You can even license the use of trademarks i.e. give permission for someone else to use them, and they pay you for the privilege. Sweet!
So is your brand worthy of a Trademark?
For some businesses, registering trademarks doesn’t have any major benefit. It might be early days in the business and you are just seeing how it develops. That’s fine. Wait and see. If it gains momentum, it might be worthwhile at some point down the track.
On the other hand if the brand is becoming established, likely to have competitive interest, there are concerns over plagiarism, or it would cost a lot to rebrand, then consider getting your hustle on and registering it.
For most business owners it’s a matter of weighing up the benefit with timing and affordability.
As a rule of thumb if the brand has developed into something customers consistently seek out, then it would be ideal to register the brand as a trademark promptly.
Now if you've determine your shit is good enough, we have listed some steps below to help. Also remember we have underlined words which have links that may be useful.
Step 1 - Check your Trademarks are not already taken
Before you go any further it’s a good idea to check if anyone has already registered the brand and/or words you want to register. Do a search to find out if there are matching or even similar trademarks already. If there are, this can cause your application to be declined and cost you more money to reapply for something different. It also costs more money to have a rejected trademark reviewed and they still might reject it on review.
This is where a good IP Lawyer can help
If searches identify the same or similar trademarks in the classes you want, consider changing your brand (if practical) so it is notably different. If it’s not practical, we recommend you invest a little more money and get some legal advice from a good IP Lawyer. They will explain your options, make recommendations and, give you an indication of the likelihood of success.
The reality is, if your brand is already taken, you may have no choice but to change yours if the owner of the Trademark ever wanted to stop you from using it.
Step 2 - Determine exactly what you want to register and protect
For most people, they simply protect the image of their logo and their trading name. Some take it further and protect catch phrases and even branded products or services.
For example Bega Cheese Limited have registered their Bega logo and the word "Bega."
Bega also make the well known product Vegemite. If you do a Vegemite Search you will see Bega have extensive trademarks for Vegemite across multiple (Classes) categories.
They cover all sorts of things like clothing so people can’t rip-off a Vegemite T-Shirt. They even go on to register catch phrases like “Happy little vegemite” and it’s charitable foundations.
When you have such a prominent brand, the protection is often extensive across multiple Classes. This type of broad protection is best done by a good IP Lawyer and the Bega Lawyer is probably one “happy little vegemite”.
For the most part, people who register trademarks themselves, start simply with their logo and trading name in the really obvious class/s.
Step 3 - Select the categories (Classes) for your goods/services
As a rule of thumb, when choosing the class, simply choose the ones for which your customers pay you money
Click HERE if you want to see some info videos to help you better understand the classes of goods and services used in Trademark Applications.
Once you’ve watched the videos do a search to find the Class/s you need to register in.
Be conscious not to get too carried away when selecting Classes. As mentioned above, a simple and cost effect approach is just to protect what you absolutely need for now. You can always apply to expand to new categories later on.
The reality is, if you have the budget and need to register a series of trademarks, you are better off getting a good IP Lawyer to do it for you. Their job is to make sure you are adequately protected.
Step 4 - How to make an application yourself
So you’ve decided it’s worthwhile, there are no similar trademarks already registered and you want to apply yourself.
You will need to Create an E-Services Account for IP Australia and complete the application form online.
It’s not all that difficult.
Have your businesses or company ABN info ready if you want to register the trademark in that name. Also have your image file for your logo (if applicable) as you can register both words and images.
Step 5 - How Long Does It Take
You may be disappointed to learn that response times are slow. You will wait at least seven months to have your trademark registered. Longer if there are any objections from competitors, rejections or reviews.
You can make an expedited request if it's genuinely urgent.
Step 6 - Crack the Champaign - It’s Approved
You now have legal protection and can display the registered trademark symbol ™ or ® with your trademarks. Crack the champaign and display it proudly. Hopefully, you will never need to use your trademarks as a whacking stick as others will now see you have a big stick.
Conversely your customers will begin to feel the increased perceived value in your products and services because you have placed importance on protecting your valuable brands.
For typing the trademark symbols on an iPhone you need to have the emoji Keyboard.
Check out this youtube clip from Trademark Factory if you need instructions.
Apple Keyboard the shortcut for these symbols are as follows:
Hold the “Option” Key down and press “2” and you get ™
Hold the “Option” Key down and press “R” and you get ®
For windows and android check this link from fsymbols might be helpful
What about international protection
No problem. You can link from your E-Services account to WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation). Go to the tab "My E-Services" then scroll down clicking on "Trademarks" (see screen snap below).
If you use WIPO their calculator shows a Base Fee of about $650 and then add about $380 per country.
Disclaimer and Recommendation:
We hope this general info regarding Trademarks will help some of you. Please be aware that we are not IP Lawyers.
You are ultimately responsible for your own decisions. You can't hold us liable or responsible for any loss or damage you incur based the information contained in this article.
*We always recommend you seek independent legal advice.
We endeavour to link to reliable pages however please consider we have no control over the accuracy of information and functionality in the pages we link to. If you have any issues with linked pages, please contact the owner of that particular page for technical support.
Rad Dad Consulting
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