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Trade mark registration more important than ever

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The MST newsletter has previously provided information regarding Google Adwords, and with the current widespread use of Adwords, we are seeing more and more clients having to factor this into decisions they make about what trade marks they need to register, both for offensive and defensive reasons.

Google will only act to stop your competitors’ Adwords if you have a registered trade mark, not an unregistered trade mark. Given this framework, your decisions about what you trade mark in this environment can be different from traditional thinking about catching the eye and the recall of your customers.

Changes have also been mooted to the administration of the domain name registration space with the addition of ‘dot anything’ rather than .com, .net and so on. This theoretically allows you to use your company name as your internet domain. The costs that have been proposed for this are quite significant – in the range of $185,000 – and even more in the case of disputes, where an auction process is proposed. This also may change how you choose to brand your company and business, and which trade marks you should register. It has been proposed that there will be protection for registered trade marks (but again, not for unregistered marks).

‘Phone’ words are also available and provide further food for thought when devising an appropriate brand for your business or product and considering what to register as trade marks.

These changes show that even greater thought is needed about your trade mark strategy within the different environments of your online ‘positioning’ as well as in commerce. You need to consider not only your online presence, but also what your competitors may be able to do with words associated with your business if you do not protect them.

The Personal Properties Securities Act (PPSA) which will come into effect in October this year will cover intellectual property for the first time.

All of these changes mean it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to think strategically and carefully about their branding.

Author: Marianne Dunham

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