What is a trade mark?

Pursuant to section 17 of the Trade Marks Act 1995, a trade mark is a sign used or intended to be used to distinguish your goods and services from those goods and services provided by others.

As well as being a word, phrase or logo, a trade mark can also be a sound, scent, colour, shape or other type of defining characteristic. A full list can be found on the IP Australia website.

Your trade mark must be registered against a specific class or classes of goods and services and your trade mark is only protected against use in these classes. You can register your trade mark against multiple classes of goods and services but each class will incur a fee. You can use IP Australia’s trade marks classification search to search the complete list of classes available.

Why register a trade mark?

Exclusive rights

By registering your trade mark, you are guaranteeing your right to exclusively use your trade mark for your goods and services in the classes that you have registered it under. It removes the opportunity for your competitors and others to copy your trade mark and benefit from it.

Furthermore, registering your trade mark gives you the right to commence proceedings against others who attempt to use your trade mark and imitate your business.

In the event that someone attempts to use your registered trade mark, the process of enforcing your right to the trade mark is much easier and less expensive as opposed to if the trade mark was unregistered.

Reputation and goodwill

Registering your trade mark protects your company’s name and reputation, which is crucial to the success of the company. By creating a trade mark that stands out, it can aid in promoting the value of the company.


You can include your trade mark on the company’s balance sheet as an intangible asset. This will increase the value of the company and therefore place the company in a better financial position and look more attractive to potential investors and purchasers.

National protection

A registered trade mark will be protected throughout Australia, allowing you to promote your brand and build on the reputation of your trade mark nationally.

In the event that you decide to branch out internationally, the application process will be simpler and less time consuming as the trade mark has been registered within Australia.

How can we help?

If you are a business owner and want to secure your trade mark and protect your business, contact one of our expert commercial lawyers on (02) 9964 0499 today.

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The articles on this website comprise legal general information and not legal advice. The general information presented here must not be relied upon without legal advice being sought. In the event that you wish to obtain legal advice on the contents of this general information you may do so by contacting our office or your existing solicitor.