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GUEST POST: How to trademark your business or idea

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Stacey Smith from Vivid Legal did all our trademarking for Dream & Do and our event series Cereal Entrepreneurs

Stacey Smith from Vivid Legal did all our trademarking for Dream & Do and our event series Cereal Entrepreneurs

Stacey Smith from Vivid Legal shares her advice on trademarking your assets. Stacey is our go-to professional for all legal-related questions and we wouldn’t be where we are without her! She has shared her top tips and tricks for a smart, successful and stress-free business.

Your brand is the most important asset of your business. It’s your handshake, your first impression to your audience, so it needs to speak to your audience in their language.  trong brand must be unique, distinctive and apable of trademark registration. When you have a registered trademark you have the right to prevent anyone else from using the same or similar word or image in relation to the same or similar goods or services throughout Australia, regardless of where you operate your business! Without trademark registration, your rights to stop competitors copying you is limited to those areas where you have a reputation. Given the size of Australia, this could mean that you have a direct competitor, calling themselves a confusingly similar name in another state and you may not have the right to stop them.

Imagine the impact to your business if your customers bought from your competitor, mistakenly believing they were you, because they looked so similar to yo that your customers did not know the difference.

nother clever tactic to build strength into your business brand is my mantra – ‘be consistent and be everywhere’. Build a theme or a story into your branding and continue to reproduce that story throughout your business. Develop a clever and protectable name for more than just your business - you can brand your events, products, workshops. Develop a tagline or mantra to tell your audience what you stand for. And by flooding the marketing in a strategic way, you build reputation in your brand.

The more people recognise your brand, the stronger your rights in your brand and your business!

omething else to always bear in mind is that using a similar name or image as another person anywhere in the world is dangerous and can have a significant impact on your business. With social media and international e-commerce, there is the real risk of customer confusion if your trademarks are similar to someone else's trademarks - even if they are in another country. 

You could find yourself being sued for misleading and deceptive conduct or passing off even if your competitor has no trade mark rights in Australia. Also, if your competitor has a similar brand and does something immoral, illegal or unethical, this behaviour can easily have a flow-on effect to your brand if your customers cannot tell the different between you and your competitor.

The moral of the story - always get advice on the availability of your preferred brand before you commit to it financially or, even more importantly, emotionally! Often there are steps that can be taken to 'fix' or at least improve a weak brand, but there are definitely cases where the risk is just too high and you need to start again. This is not a step you want to take after you have spent money, time and effort building your brand and reputation only to have to start again.

At Vivid Legal we work closely with brand developers and designers to ensure that brand protection is available and implemented to give you the greatest chance of well-learned success!

Contact Stacey through www.vividlegal.com.au