What is a trade mark?
A trade mark (often written as a single word, trademark) is a “sign” for indicating the origin of goods or services. For example, you may have a favourite brand of toothpaste which you like because you trust the company that makes it, or because it tastes nice, or because your dentist has recommended it, or simply because it does not cost much. When you go to the shop to buy your toothpaste, you find it on the shelf by recognising its name, or the logo on the packaging. The name and logo are typical types of trade marks used to identify the goods.
Just about all items that are sold have trade marks used with them, such as cars, chocolates, medicines, clothes, etc.
Similarly, businesses offering services use trade marks to identify who they are. For example, the name Ascot MartinTM is our trade mark which we use in relation to patent and trade mark attorney services. Examples of other commercially provided services are pharmacy services, education services, motor repair services, etc.
What is the benefit of a trade mark?
For most businesses, their trade marks are assets of vital importance. That is how they tell consumers who they are or the name and origin of their their goods.
If another person or trader could freely copy your trade mark, that other person could “steal” away your business and customers by causing confusion or deception in the marketplace, resulting in consumers obtaining their goods or services from that other person or trader rather than from you.
Apart from taking away your business, this could also have a serious impact on your reputation and the value of your brand, or simply make it very hard if not impossible for you to develop the value of your brand.
The value of a business’s branding and trade marks should not be underestimated. Some of the world’s leading brands are estimated to be worth billions of dollars.
For these reasons, it is extremely important for a business to protect its trade marks. We have dealt with many situations where businesses have not protected their branding or trade marks and have found themselves in hot water.
Is it worth it to apply?
At Ascot MartinTM, we have adopted an extremely competitive cost structure for trade marks. Given the relatively low cost that is usually involved in obtaining a registered trade mark, when this cost is compared with the potential value of the trade mark, one does not have to be a rocket scientist to realise that registering the trade mark is very worthwhile.