Types of Brands and Trademarks in Australia

  • Post category:Insights
Kerry Newcomb Trademark Attorney

In the realm of trademark law, the concept of a ‘brand’ extends far beyond just a business name or logo. A brand can encompass a wide variety of signs used to distinguish the goods or services of one trader from those of another. Understanding the different types of brands that can be trademarked is crucial in effectively protecting your commercial identity in Australia.

Traditionally, brands have been associated with words, logos, and combinations of both. These conventional trademarks remain prevalent and vital. They serve as a business’s primary identifier, often becoming synonymous with the quality and reputation of the goods or services it offers.

However, Australian trademark law recognises a much broader spectrum of brand types. For instance, ‘shape trademarks’ protect the unique shape of goods or their packaging. The distinctive Coca Cola bottle shape is a classic example of a shape trademark. Similarly, ‘colour trademarks’ can be registered, where a specific colour or combination of colours is distinctively associated with a trader, like the particular shade of purple linked to Cadbury chocolates.

Additionally, ‘sound trademarks’ cover a unique tune or set of notes that identify a brand, such as the famous Intel chime. ‘Scent trademarks’ are also a possibility, although they are relatively rare due to the challenges associated with defining a scent precisely and objectively.

Finally, more recently, with advances in technology, ‘motion’ or ‘multimedia trademarks’, which include a movement or changing images, have gained recognition. These innovative trademarks encapsulate the evolution of branding strategies in a rapidly digitalising world.

The extensive recognition of brand types in Australian trademark law offers robust protection for traders. However, it also underscores the complexity of trademark registration and enforcement. Hence, understanding the diverse types of brands that can be trademarked and seeking professional advice when registering a trademark is essential for effective brand protection in Australia.