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  • #969462
    ZannMichaels
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    Hi folks, I’m new to Flying Solo but loving it so far!

    I have a question about trademarking that I’m hoping someone can help me with – I have registered my business name in QLD, but as it’s an online business I fully intend to have customers throughout Australia. Should/could I register my business in each state, or am i better off just trademarking my business name?

    Any help you can provide will be much appreciated!

    Suzanne

    #1038824
    Anonymous
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    Shazanne, post: 46969 wrote:
    Hi folks, I’m new to Flying Solo but loving it so far!

    Hi Suzanne :)

    We love that you’ve found us!

    I’m sure someone will be along with some answers for you shortly.

    All the best,
    Jayne

    #1038825
    victorng
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    Hi Suzanne

    From early 2011, there will actually be a national business names register managed by ASIC. I believe each State will have a system to transfer State registrations to the national register.

    Having said that, registering a trade mark is a good idea. A registered business name doesn’t give you any proprietary right over the name.

    There’s some basic info about trade marks vs business names on my blog: http://www.buzzlaw.info/2009/11/trade-marks-101/.

    Cheers
    Victor

    ^ This isn’t legal advice – I’m just shooting the breeze

    #1038826
    Snakeman
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    Trademark vs Registering Business (experience)

    Well, I am not a lawyer so cannot give legal advice.
    But here’s my own take on it with experience in this area.
    My own business of reptile shows and education seems benign, but in recent years has been infiltrated by some shockingly unethical people.
    They bootleg all your intellectual property, ideas, plagiarise your publications, defame you at every opportunity and so on, solely to steal clientele built up over decades.
    They create websites with the sole purpose of stealing established clients who may “google” you on the web and they fool the search engines to go to their sites instead.
    In my own case, over 30 years at the leading edge of wildlife conservation counts as nothing in the eyes of fly-by-night cowboys intent on making a quick buck.
    The whole wildlife game, or a decent whack of it, has little to do with animal welfare and lot about making money.
    I suppose the extreme case of that is seen in the Irwin family business, but there are others like them.
    What has this got to do with the subject at hand?
    Well I am sure other businesses have similar issues and a trademark can do what a business name cannot (to the same degree) and that is give you EXCLUSIVE rights to use a word, phrase or whatever in your chosen field, to the exclusion of all others.
    It can in effect, protect your patch of turf from others.
    A good trademark is a powerful tool and with the world going online, you must think beyond your state boundaries in terms of confusion and the like.
    The internet has changed the way things are done.
    People often search for myself and my business using the term “snakeman”, which is what I have been known as for about 40 years.
    To stop the fly-by nighters bootlegging the name and backlinking to their websites under the term, we (now) enforce our registered trademark across Australia, even though most of our business is in Victoria, (because if a local search brings up someone else, a person may search under an alternative term and get someone else again, costing us business).
    It’s only in the last month I became aware of this particular caper (the concept of backlinks to steal people’s web traffic) and ownership of a trademark has enabled us to stop the problem at it’s source, not only on the websites, but also those who carried backlinks (anchor text) as “snakeman”, which we have been able to remove through letters of demand (and if that had failed, by litigation).
    This could not have been done with a business name in one state or even in all states.
    (Google the term “Snakeman” and you’ll see other Australian businesses on top of ours at the moment (our site is http://www.snakeman.com.au) , but this should change soon as their “backlinks” have now been removed via letters of demand and the google bots work out what’s happened and thus drops them as a result).
    My advice, is, if it is registerable and possible (check the IP Aust guidelines), then go get the relevant trademark/s to protect your business interests.
    However there are tricks to getting a “good” trademark that has wide enough criteria to keeping others off your turf and a good lawyer may pay for themselves in this area, not just in terms of getting the wording of the trademark right (or it’s definition), but also in terms of getting through the “examination” process which can be very costly and time consuming.
    All the best
    Snakeman

    #1038827
    Snakeman
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    A recent case

    Dear all,
    a recent case judgement:
    Mantra Group Pty Ltd v. Tailly Pty Ltd [2010] FCA 291
    is important in terms of trademarks and internet and trademark rights.
    In essence a trademark owner sued another company bootlegging their trademark on the internet to steal clients (or that’s the gist of the case).
    the trademark owner sued and got:
    compensation, legal costs and the court ordered the websites changed and ownership of domains transferred to the trademark owner.
    Since my last post (above), I have been made aware of over 20 cases of bootlegging of another of our trademarks “hands on reptiles” by more than one newly licenced competitor for the sole objective to steal our work via searches under the term for our business trademark, with some infringers coming up “one” on google, as a result of their “SEO” (search engine optimisation) methods.
    We are actioning these people with cease and desist letters in the next 14 days.
    Without deliberate SEO by these people, these outfits wouldn’t get on page one of the searches and hence be of no concern to us (we have as a matter of course until recently won all searches using our trademark for several of our domains, thereby “clean sweeping” page one results on google, etc).
    The trademark rights enable the owner to bypass the time consuming “tit-for-tat” battles with SEO experts and website owners with more time and money than ourselves and to simply assert their rights to enable customers to find them when they look.
    ALL THE BEST
    Snakeman

    #1038828
    victorng
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    Great information and advice from the ‘frontline’, Snakeman!

    Especially the bit about getting a lawyer or attorney to make sure your application is properly drafted. :) I do spend a bit of time sorting out problems from people who have chosen to go the DIY path and mucked it up.

    Cheers,
    Victor

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