Trade Marks in New Zealand
A trade mark enables you to distinguish your goods or services in the market.
You can register names, logos and brands as a trade mark. You are also able to have multiple trade marks that can include words, images, smells, colours and logos that are used to distinguish your particular goods or services in the market place.
Trade marks can be registered, which will help you to protect your rights in those marks.
Trade marks are territorial so if your goods or services extend overseas, you should consider applying to register your trade marks in all applicable countries.
In New Zealand, applications for registering a trade mark must be filed with the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ).
Once your trade mark has been registered, it will appear on the IPONZ trade mark register, and you will have the exclusive right to use the trade mark to promote the goods and/or services it covers.
Most importantly, trade mark registration allows you to seek remedies such as injunctions or damages against any infringing person or business that is too similar to yours.
If you do not register a trade mark, there is much less protection and fewer remedies available to infringing people or businesses. There are common law remedies available for unregistered trade marks, but the level of protection depends on the length of time and level of your use of the trade mark. It can also be more difficult to provide the proof required to show that you are the owner of the trade mark.
Trade mark registration lasts for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely. Generally, trade marks increase in value as time goes on, as it will become established in the market.
Before you submit a trade mark application, you should carry out searches of the relevant trade mark register to check your proposed mark is not already in use or if there are similar existing marks that may cause issues with your application.
IPONZ has a section on their website for preliminary advice prior to applying to register your trade mark, which is a good starting point.