Intellectual property refers to intangible creations of the human intellect. From the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle to the iconic McDonald’s golden arches, you can find yourself surrounded by examples of intellectual property. IP law plays a key role in helping companies and individuals develop unique brand identity and protect their creations. 

Intellectual property can be broadly classified into four types: Copyrights, Patents, Trade Mark, and Designs. Every type of IP deals with a distinct, tangible asset and cannot be used interchangeably. In this post, we are summarising the differences between Patents and Trade Marks. Let’s take a look.


Patents are intellectual property rights granted to original inventions. Whether you have designed a novel line of footwear or invented a new software, patents give you exclusive rights to the invention. 

As a business owner, getting a patent means that you can protect and market your inventions without worrying about someone else copying it. Many people make the mistake of selling their invention before patenting it. This can make it difficult to establish your claim on the product.

It is also important to note that you can’t get a patent for an idea. A patent is only granted when you turn your idea into an actual invention. Before applying for a patent, it’s imperative to ensure the invention doesn’t already exist. Otherwise, it would be such a waste of time and effort.

Like most other countries, a standard patent in Australia has a term of 20 years. In some cases of pharmaceutical patents, they can last upto 25 years. A standard patent can take upto 4-5 years to be granted. 

If you are concerned about someone infringing your patent, it would be best to consult experienced patent lawyers and take immediate action.

Trade Marks

Trade Marks are granted to protect a logo, phrase, design or a combination thereof that distinguishes your brand from competitors. From Burberry’s plain print to Disneyland’s tagline ‘The happiest place on Earth’, a trade mark serves as an identifier for your brand.

Unless you want someone else to ride on your business’s clout by selling goods and products that have nothing to do with your brand, you can’t overlook the importance of trade marks.

For registering a trade mark, you have to state what your trade mark is, along with all the products and services it will be used for. Once a trade mark is granted, you own it for ten years, and you can continue renewing it, unless it is removed for non-use or abandoned.

If you don’t actively use your trade mark, it can be removed on the grounds of non-use. A competitor can apply for trade mark removal for non-use if your trade mark has been sitting idle for the past three years.

It can take at least seven months to get your trade mark registered. Before applying for a trade mark, you should clearance to use and register searches.

Do you want to register a trade mark for your company? To ensure a smooth and efficient process, we suggest getting knowledgeable trade mark lawyers on board.

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