Similar Names in Trade Marks?

We often get clients who ask questions about how effective a trade mark registration is. One of the questions that we have been asked before is this:

If I register my trade mark, does that prevent someone from changing one letter in my trade mark and using that as their trade mark?

The Trade Marks Act 1995 (Commonwealth) says that a trade mark application must be rejected if it is likely to deceive or to cause confusion. It also says that a trade mark application must be rejected if it is identical, substantially identical with, or deceptively similar to an existing trade mark.

Of course, there are exceptions to these rules – especially where there is evidence that your competitor’s trade mark has been consistently used for much longer than your own. This allows them to claim that they have had honest and concurrent use of the trade mark.

A registered trade mark is indeed valuable, and if you haven’t already registered your trade mark, you should do so as soon as possible.