A guide to trademarking your business name

You’ve launched your business, got the perfect name, and even snagged a domain. But here’s the catch: registering your business name or claiming a domain doesn’t automatically grant you exclusive rights to that name.

To secure exclusive rights to your business name and prevent others from using it, you need to apply for a trademark. A trademark provides you with legal protection and exclusive rights to use your business name, logo, or slogan in connection with the goods or services you provide.

A trademark encompasses various forms, including words, shapes, images, sounds, colors, moving images, aspects of packaging, and combinations thereof.

Benefits of Trademark Registration

Trademark registration offers several benefits to businesses, including:

  1. Legal Protection: Trademark registration provides legal protection against unauthorized use of your business name, allowing you to take legal action against infringers.
  2. Brand Recognition: A registered trademark enhances brand recognition and credibility, helping you stand out in the marketplace and build trust with customers.
  3. Market Exclusivity: Trademark registration grants you exclusive rights to use your brand name in your industry, giving you a competitive advantage over competitors.
  4. Asset Value: A registered trademark is a valuable business asset that can increase the value of your company and attract investors or potential buyers.

The Trademark Registration Process

The process of trademark registration in Australia involves several steps:

  1. Trademark Search: Conduct a comprehensive search on IP Australia website to ensure that your desired business name is not already in use or registered by another entity. This helps avoid potential conflicts and legal issues down the line.
  2. Establish Trademark Class: Each trademark is registered in relation to a range of goods and services. It’s important to get this right because this determines what your trade mark protects. A full list of classes can be found on the IP Australia website.
  3. Trademark Application: Submit a trademark application to IP Australia, the government agency responsible for administering intellectual property rights in Australia. Your application should include details of your business name, as well as the goods or services you intend to use the trademark for. Fees depend on how many classes are listed in your application, and which application process you choose as each meets slightly different needs and has a different fee. The two ways to apply for trademark are:
    1. Through a pre-application service (TM Headstart) — this includes an indicative assessment of your application before you file; (that’s the application we used at 45 Degrees®)
    2. Through a standard application process.
  4. Examination: IP Australia will examine your trademark application to ensure that it meets the requirements for registration, including distinctiveness and eligibility for trademark protection. It usually takes three to four months for your trade mark application to be examined. 
  5. Publication: If your trademark application is accepted, it will be published in the Official Journal of Trademarks for a period of two months. During this time, third parties have the opportunity to oppose the registration of your trademark.
  6. Registration: If no oppositions are filed against your trademark application, and all requirements are met, your trademark will be registered, and you will receive a Certificate of Registration from IP Australia.

Timeframes & Fees

From start to finish, the trademarking process will take at least seven months.

The cost of a trademark is often a deterrent to many businesses seeking protection. But the minimum costs is $250. At 45 Degrees® we applied through a pre-application (TM Headstart) and in one class, and our total fee was $330 (in 2023).

Using the ® and ™ symbols

The ™ symbol is used with unregistered marks, when a business intends to claim a trade mark, or while its trade mark application is being processed by IP Australia.

The ® symbol is used once your mark has been registered as a trade mark by IP Australia.

Need help with trademarking?