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Should I Trade Mark My Business Name?

 

Having a registered trade mark gives your business a unique identifier and the legal protection of being the only one who is allowed to use it within New Zealand. But should your business take the step of registering its business name and logo as trade marks?

Benefits of having a registered trade mark

At some point your business is going to need to market its goods or services to the public. One of the best ways of being quickly recognised is with your business name or logo. Both can help grow your number of customers or clients through brand loyalty, as well as helping your product or service be purchased over your competitors' ones. Some of the benefits of having your logo and business name as trade marks are:

  • Only you are allowed to use your business name/logo in NZ
  • Protects your business reputation and goodwill
  • Prevents competitors using yours or similar logos or business names
  • Stops consumer confusion between yours and other similar products or services
  • You can sell or license your trade marks, making them a valuable business asset
  • Makes your product or service easily identified
  • Helps grow your brand, both keeping and increasing customers
  • Prevents expensive legal fees fighting other businesses using your or similar names/logos
  • Gives you a marketing edge, something different from your competitors
  • Protects all of the time and money you have spent or will spend promoting your business name/logo

When should I start getting a trade mark?

You can apply to register your business name or logo as a trade mark at any time. However, you need to search the NZ Trade Marks Register at the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) before you even set up a company or decide on a name or logo. That’s because there may already be a registered trade mark for your name or logo, meaning that you are not allowed to legally use it. So before you spend your hard earned dollars on registering your company or having a logo designed, you should check out the Trade Mark Register.  You can also purchase a preliminary search and preliminary advice from IPONZ on whether your preferred business name and logo will likely be accepted as a registered trade mark by IPONZ if you apply. The benefit of doing this is it is cheap and will likely highlight any problems you might have with registering your trade mark before you go to the expense of putting in a trade mark application.  Once you feel reasonably confident that your trade mark application will be accepted by IPONZ, you should then apply to register your trade mark online at the IPONZ website.

I have a registered company and the matching website domain. Do I need a trade mark?

Yes you do. Even though you have registered your business name with the New Zealand Companies Register and you own the domain name, you are not protected.  Other businesses can use your name and logo or create a similar one. Somebody else could even trade mark your name or logo and force you to stop using it.

Disclaimer: The information on this page is general information only and must not be relied on as legal advice. Legal Beagle is not a law firm or a substitute for a law firm. We are unable to provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defences, options, selection of legal documents or strategies. 

 

 

 

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Legal Beagle is not a law firm or a substitute for a law firm. We are unable to provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defences, options, selection of legal documents or strategies.
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