April 2012 | Scott Freidman

Did you know registered trademark protections can protect your online IP?

You must protect your intellectual property by registering your trademark. Trademark registration will protect your intellectual property in your business name or logo from being used by other people and businesses. When you register your trade mark you will have the exclusive right to use the trade mark in Australia.

I have registered my company name and business name. Do I need to register a trademark?

You should still register a trademark. The registration of a company or business name allows you to use the name as an unregistered trade mark and it gives you limited legal protection. For example, if another business uses your business name for the same or similar goods or services you may be entitled to take legal action against the infringer. However, you will need to establish your prior use of the business name and show that the infringer’s use is causing confusion in the market. This enforcement of your IP rights can be time consuming and costly. If you have a registered trademark, you have exclusive rights to use the trade mark. Any use by another business would be an infringement and you would not need to prove prior use or confusion in the market.

What other protection do I get from having a registered trademark?

1. Online Protection

Having a registered trademark gives you a wider protection on the internet. The courts have recently found that if another internet user uses your registered trademark in any of the following ways it may amount to trademark infringement:

  • Domain names;
  • Website banners;
  • Website titles;
  • Test on Website;
  • Meta-tagging (meta tags are HTML codes in a web page which cannot be seen by the website’s users.

The purpose of these tags is to provide information to user agents, such as search engines) and Google Adwords (Adwords is a system offered by Google on its search engine where you choose keywords for which your ad will appear. When a Google user enters these keywords your ad will appear.)

2. Social Media and Cyber Squatting

Social media sites such as Twitter will often recognise your proprietary rights in trademarks. Recently Twitter suspended a user from using a name that was virtually identical to a registered trademark owned by another user. A registered trademark can prevent cyber-squatting. That is where another internet user registers a domain name containing your business name or trademark in the hopes of selling the domain name back to you at an inflated price. It has been found that cyber-squatting is a form of trademark infringement.

Written by Scott Freidman
(02) 9231 2466

Harris Freidman can assist you with the preparation and lodgement of your trademark application or with any infringement issues and concerns you may have. For more information please contact a member of our commercial team on 02 9231 2466.