Trade marks are badges of origin. They distinguish the goods or services of one trader from another and can take many forms such as words, slogans, logos, shapes, colours, and sounds. For example, a red bus is associated with London buses and a triangular shape chocolate bar is the shape of a Toblerone.

When you register your trade mark, you’ll be able to:

  • take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission, including counterfeiters.
  • put the ® symbol next to your brand to show that it’s yours and warn others against using it.
  • sell and license your brand.

Trade mark protection is usually within a particular business industry. This means one industry, such as car manufacturing, can use the same or similar trade mark that another industry has, such as a clothing line, without infringing any copyright laws. For example, the name ‘polo’ is used able to be used as a car brand, a clothing brand, and a confectionary brand. This is why it is important for each business to apply for a trade mark within its industry categorisation.