Trademark registration is an area of the law which is entirely foreign to most people. In actual fact, the application process for reserving a trademark could not be much easier. Though there are a number of steps involved in the process, by using an intermediary you can cut out most of the mystery associated with intellectual property law. These firms will tend to package the application process into one easy step, and carry out any other legal minutiae on your behalf. If you intend to use a creation which could be trademarked in promoting your business it is critical that you have it registered. Doing so is fairly simple, and it will protect you against infringement in the long run.

The first step usually involved in the application process is to carry out a trademark search to check if anyone else is currently using something similar to your proposed mark. You can skip this step if you wish, but it tends to be a prime indicator of whether your application will be successful. If you choose to apply through an intermediary service they will carry out this search for you on your behalf. Once you have applied, your details and an outline of your proposed trademark will be filed with the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ). Should there be no conflict or objection to your trademark, IPONZ will notify you of the acceptance of your trademark within approximately 10 days from the date the application was filed.

In some cases IPONZ may find reason to object to your application. This means that you have a right of reply, and have the opportunity to explain why your trademark is not substantially similar to another, or is to be used in an entirely different context in a way that would eliminate any potential conflict. Should your appeal be successful and your application approved, your trademark will be listed in the Patent Office Journal. This is to allow anyone who feels you may be infringing upon their intellectual property to lodge a complaint. If no complaint is lodged within three months, your trademark will be eligible to be officially registered. The minimum timeframe for registration is 6 months, so once this lapses you will have successfully completed the application process.

Registering your trademark means that it is searchable on a publicly available database. This allows any competitors who may be considering using a similar mark to see that you already have rights to it, which will hopefully deter them from attempting to use it. Even if they go ahead and use a conflicting mark, you are able to stop them from using it by showing that it is similar to your registered trademark in a way that would be confusing to the general public. Play it safe, and make sure that you’ve accounted for trademark registration with your next venture or project. You’ll find it’s simpler than perhaps you initially thought, and pays off in the long run.