A trade mark can be a trade name, logo, sound, product colour, scent or any other distinctive mark within a particular class of goods and services.
In Australia, there are 45 distinct classes. Registered trade marks are legally allowed to use the encircled R symbol.
To be registered in Australia, a trade mark must;
- be distinct in its class, and not cause confusion among other marks;
- be non-descriptive and non-promotional, so “good shoes” cannot be registered; and
- avoid common usage words as the whole trade mark “generic words”
A trade mark allows the holder to exclude others from using the registered mark in the same class, which is why there is only on triangular shaped chocolate bar, eg, Toberlone.
Different firms can have the same mark in different classes, such as the “Lotus” trade mark name which is used by software, automobile and door companies in Australia.
Trade Mark costs
Application cost: $120
Registration fee: $300 per class
Renewal: every 10 years
Trade Mark lawyers will charge a management fee to manage the trade mark through the different phases from application to registration and certification which takes approx 7 months.
Source: IP Australia – Intellectual Property Report 2013 p. 34