A trade mark is a sign that you can use to distinguish your business’ goods or services from those of other traders.

It can be represented graphically in the form of your company’s name or logo.

A trade mark can add value to your business. Using a trade mark can help customers easily identify and remember your products and services, allowing you to build customer loyalty and protect your market share.

Once you register your trade mark, you will enjoy a monopoly over its use. You may:

  1. License it to third parties
  2. Sell it for a sum

If you have successfully registered a trade mark, you can use the ® symbol next to your mark.

If you use the symbol, this tells others that you are using the logo or name as a trade mark, but the mark may not be registered or protected under trade mark laws.

You can register your mark as a trade mark as long as it is distinctive and can distinguish your goods or services from similar marks of other traders.

Trade marks can be in the form of letters, words, names, signatures, labels, devices, tickets, shapes and colour, or any combination of these elements.

The following cannot be registered as a trade mark:

  • Marks that are descriptive
    (e.g. super, best, cheap, one dozen)
  • Marks that are not distinctive or are common to your trade
    (ones that have become well accepted in relation to your trade and do not distinguish the goods or service you are offering)
  • Marks that could offend or promote immoral behaviour
  • Deceptive marks
    (ones that could misrepresent the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods or services)
  • Marks that are identical to earlier marks
  • Marks that could cause confusion, as there is a similar or identical mark filed earlier in relation to similar or identical goods and/or services
  • Marks that are identical or similar to well-known marks

Once your trade mark is registered, it will be protected for 10 years. You may renew the registration upon its expiry.