One Federal Court decision clarifies what is considered as “authorised use” of a trade mark wherein the trade mark user is not the trade mark owner but a subsidiary of the owner’s company.
Collective Trade Marks
Collective trade marks are used by members of a certain organisation. They function similarly to certification trade marks but, unlike standard trade marks, collective trade marks cannot be sold, assigned or leased to another party. Collective trade marks are similar to certification trade marks in that the party registering the trade mark is not necessarily the party who will be using the mark.
Functions of a collective trade mark
Collective trade marks are trade marks used by members of an association to:
- Differentiate the association’s goods or services from the goods or services outside the association; or
- To identify membership within the organization.
In this way, the collective trade mark is used both for commerce and identification.
Applying for a collective trade mark follows the same process as applying for a regular trade mark. Similarly to a regular trade mark, the registered collective trade mark remains protected as long as all renewal fees are paid.
One important difference between collective trade marks and regular trade marks is that collective trade marks cannot be sold or assigned to another owner.
Who can apply for a collective trade mark?
The application for a collective trade mark must be filed by an organisation or association. This means that an individual may not solely file for an application.
An association may be incorporated, such as FTD Inc. or unincorporated, such as the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).
Examples of Collective Trade Marks
Collective Trade Mark for an Unincorporated Association
The Australian Association of Social Workers, or AASW, is a professional group of social workers across Australia that work together to promote the social work profession and act as a strong voice for social justice in relation to social work. The group’s trade mark is registered under mark number 1592138. To gain membership, an applicant must hold an AASW approved social work qualification from an Australian university or AASW recognized qualifications from overseas. There are over 11,500 members in the association that use the collective trade mark AASW and benefit from the advantages of using the trade mark. The main advantage of being eligible to the use of this trade mark is to show qualification, accountability, and commitment to safe and quality practice for clients. Some employers look for AASW members during their recruitment process for these reasons.
Collective Trade Mark for an Incorporated Association
The International Alliance of Research Universities, or IARU, is a group of universities that work together to research and correct major issues in the world and provide students and faculty with opportunities they would not otherwise have. The group has a collective trade mark registered under trade mark number 1124464. The IARU provides students with internships, research opportunities, and discussions on public issues. In order to be eligible for these opportunities, a student must be enrolled in one of the IARU universities.