This is branded content.
You don't have to be a business owner to understand the importance and power that a trade mark represents. At just a glance, a well-known image or logo can entice us to shop, make us feel hungry or motivate us to make a change.
If you are a business owner, however, the value of a trade mark takes on an even stronger meaning. Tied to your reputation and a valuable asset, your trade mark must be protected and defended against misuse.
Unfortunately, no matter how vigilant or diligent you are regarding your trade mark, the threat of copycats and infringing behaviour remains.
If you're experiencing trade mark troubles and seeking ways to bolster the protection of your brand, it may be time to invest in qualified legal advice.
It is tempting to think that the more visible and well-known your brand is, the easier it is to defend yourself against infringers.
However, the opposite can be true, as your brand's star rises, you become more of a target for those seeking to profit off your hard work.
Without proper measures in place, proving your rights and holding enough power to persuade others to stop the theft of your intellectual property can be incredibly difficult.
The single best defence against others profiting off your brand's reputation and position is to ensure your trade mark or marks are properly registered.
While this is not going to stop every infringer from engaging in illegal behaviour regarding your trade mark, it will make it easier to protect yourself against it.
Being able to demonstrate clear ownership over a trade mark removes any supposed confusion over who may use it and when. This adds weight to cease and desist letters that may otherwise have gone ignored.
Additionally, should formal litigation eventuate, holding the registration of a trade mark places you in the strongest position from which to fight back.
As top trade mark attorneys IP Guardian attest 'with a registered trade mark in place, the battle for ownership is essentially already won and the enforcing of associated rights becomes much simpler.'
If you've been operating for several years and have been relying on the basic protection afforded to unregistered trade marks in Australia, there's still time to register your mark.
Even if this lower level of protection has worked well until now, instances of infringement are increasingly prevalent.
Registering your trade mark formally can also be required when it comes to valuing your business or preparing for a business sale. The value of your business is higher when your intellectual property including trade marks are registered.
There is no restriction on when you register your trade mark and while it is recommended to do so early on as with many things, it is better late than never.
Just as expenses such as insurance and marketing are non-negotiable for most businesses, investing in a trademark should be considered the same.
Unlike other expenses, however, costs associated with registering a trade mark are not ongoing and stand to potentially save you much more in the long run. Once your trade mark is registered in Australia there are usually no costs until 10 years after filing.
Alongside the legally recognised ownership of your branding, you stand to gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are properly protected.
Whether someone directly copies your logo, phrasing or imagery or markets themselves with one that is deceptively similar, you will be best positioned to stop them from continuing.
If you've been on the fence about pursuing a trade mark or simply do not know where to begin, help is readily accessible through specialist attorneys. Able to protect your brand both now and into the future, your trade mark could become your most valuable investment yet.