Why Register a Trade Mark? Having a Company, Business, or Domain Name is Not Enough
Registering a trade mark for your brand name should be a high priority. It's best if you do it before launching, but registering a trade mark at any stage is beneficial. The same can be said for any new brand name you come up with in the course of running your business. It is your trade mark that distinguishes your goods and services from those of other providers and so it is important to protect it.
There is a common misconception that a company name, business name or even a domain name that incorporates your brand name gives you ownership of the brand itself. This is not correct. Company names, business names and domain names help you to trade under your brand but they do not give you ownership of it. Only a trade mark registration can give you ownership of your brand, which also allows you to sell or licence your brand.
Aside from ownership and securing your rights to use the trade mark, having a registered trade mark will help you to prevent others from trading using the same name or similar for the same or similar goods or services.
The presence of your trade mark on the Register will dissuade others that search the Register from adopting a brand that is similar to your registration.
If someone else applies for a trade mark that is similar to your registration, the Trade Marks Office will not allow that application to proceed to registration in the face of your registration.
Having a trade mark registration in place makes it much easier and cost-effective to crack down on anyone that commences use of a similar name. Without a trade mark registration in place, you will need to demonstrate with evidence your reputation in the brand to be able to enforce it. That can be a very difficult task, and is location specific. Having a trade mark registration in place in most circumstances negates the need for lengthy and costly evidence preparation, and it better protects your position.
In summary, one the most important assets for a business is its trade marks. Registering a trade mark should be considered a high priority. Doing so early on in the process will most likely save you time and cost in the long run.