Starting a business

Making your brand work for you – how having a trade mark can save (and make) you money

Why are trade marks important? They can differentiate you from your competitors, give your business an identity and help attract customers.

3 mins
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If you’ve been a follower of Mums & Co for a while, you’ve probably heard our trade marked term “Mumbition” - the unapologetic blending of motherhood and ambition, and maybe even attended our trade marked Be MPowered event over the years (catchup in our digital library).

So, why are trade marks so important? They can differentiate you from your competitors, give your business an identity and help attract customers. One way to protect your brand is by having a trade mark as it gives you exclusive rights to use that trade mark as your brand in Australia.

What is a trade mark?

A trade mark is an IP right used to distinguish your goods and services from those of another business. Trade marks come in a variety of forms, including:

  • Word 
  • Logo or figurative
  • Slogan or a phrase
  • Colour
  • Sound
  • Scent
  • Shape
  • Movement or aspect of packaging. 

A trade mark gives you the exclusive rights to determine how your trade mark can be used and who can use it in Australia.

What are the benefits of a trade mark?

  • Exclusivity - A trade mark can be a valuable asset for your business and powerful marketing tool. It gives you the exclusive right to use your brand.  
  • Protection - Small businesses face many challenges when pursuing growth. A trade mark creates protection as you have a legal avenue to stop others from using your trade mark. 
  • Licensing - A trade mark can be licensed for others to use, allowing your business to partner with others. The ability to authorise others to use your trade mark is a powerful revenue stream when creating agreements with manufacturers, distributors, sellers or contractors
  • Growth - research has shown that newly established small businesses who file for at least one IP right in their first year are approximately twice as likely as those who don’t to experience high turnover and employment growth. IP rights include trade marks and patents and these can increase a start-ups likelihood of obtaining venture capital. Australian small businesses with a trade mark are 13% more likely to achieve high turnover growth? Yet, less than 4% of the 2.3 million registered Australian small businesses currently have a trade mark. 
 “It is the less exciting part of running a business, I have to say, but it is so extremely important. One example has been in the area of getting good legal support, whether it's registering trade marks right through to contracts and making sure that's looked at on an ongoing basis” Linda Karkafi , Mumbition episode #47

How can I check if my name or logo is already trade marked?

You can start by using IP Australia’s free trade mark checker tool, TM Checker. The tool will give you an indication if there are already trade marks that might be similar to your proposed brand or name – from there you can start the application to register your trade mark.

Learn more about trade marks on the IP Australia website, including the benefits of how to apply.

About IP Australia

IP Australia is the federal government agency responsible for administering Intellectual Property (IP). Their team is currently developing a new product to better service the needs of Australian small businesses by getting them better educated, engaged and protected through trade marks.

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