To fully appreciate the importance or trademarks in a commercial context, you must first understand what can fit within the definition of a trademark. It is a fairly broad category, including virtually anything that can be represented visually, be it a word or phrase, symbol, design, or any other type of identifiable mark. Whatever way your firm chooses to express themselves, registration of this mark is the only way you can be assured that its use will not be commandeered by a rival company.
What Do I Stand To Gain From Registering A Trademark?
Firstly, brand identity is what allows firms to market themselves to consumers, building up a client base in the process. Without an established trademark to draw customers in, businesses would be unable to sustain themselves long term. Registration of a trademark allows you to retain the exclusive use of that image, word or other mark within New Zealand.
How Does Registration Protect My Interests?
If you are seen to be making an impact in your industry, other businesses may wish to profit from this goodwill by using a similar mark. The right to fair use conferred by registration means that any firm who wishes to infringe upon your trademark could face a multitude of penalties. These penalties include damages for lost trade as a result of the infringement, an account of profits for their ill gotten gains, and an immediate removal of any material carrying the conflicting mark. This tends to be enough to stop other firms from infringing upon your intellectual property, allowing you to focus on your own reputation.
What If I Wish To Sell My Business?
If you are considering selling your business, or even licensing out the name in a franchise type arrangement, registration of your trademarks will most certainly add value to your business. What it does is create a measurable commodity from an otherwise abstract concept. The brand identity used to garner goodwill within the industry is now something that can be owned, and therefore bought and sold. Whether you have no intention to sell at all, or are actively looking for a buyer, trademark registration is invariably important for your business.
How Do I Enforce These Rights?
Proving you have the sole discretion to use a particular mark is a straight forward process provided you have registered the trademark. There simply needs to be a similarity between yours and the offending unregistered mark, and the outcome will fall in your favour. This becomes markedly more costly and time consuming if you fail to complete registration, as you have to pursue action under the Fair Trading Act.