Having the right brand is just grand
Intellectual Property (IP) is the application of the mind to develop something new or original.
According to the Federal Government’s IP Australia body, it can exist in various forms; a new invention, brand, design or artistic creation.
It should be noted that IP Australia is the government body responsible for the registrable IP rights and generally limits its discussion to those registrable rights.
IP can exist in many other forms which are not within the sphere in which IP Australia works and therefore any advice should be sought from a registered attorney and not IP Australia.
“IP is an important asset in today's knowledge economy and should be strategically managed.”
And that is on the money, according to Regan Gourley, principal with CCIQ partner Cullens, patent and trade mark attorneys.
Mr Gourley said many small businesses take care of their IP at the outset, but don’t necessarily continue to review their protection as their business develops. That can prove a costly mistake.
He said protecting and managing IP was critical for a business when it started out and then on the road to, hopefully, financial success.
“One of the things that needs to be considered in the broader business sense is the brand you are going to operate under; the brand you are going to sell products under,” he said.
“We often see someone register a business name without checking if they can trade under that name.
“They can throw their money away by registering a business name they cannot trade under.”
Mr Gourley said it was crucial to do the research early and establish your brand.
“It’s not necessarily going to make you successful, but it will help keep the competitors at bay. It is an opportunity to head off trouble early on,” he said.
Mr Gourley explained that there are 34 recognised different classes of goods (and 45 classes of goods and services) and while those classes did not always make sense, your product had to be registered in the right classes to enable you to sell it.
“A lot of people might think it is relatively straight forward. But sometimes you might have to register under two different goods classes or a combination of goods classes and services classes.
“If you are properly registered and using the mark properly, it limits the way a third party can then come in and have your trademark removed.
“It is definitely a trap for new players.”
Mr Gourley cited the example of a local jeans company which looked set to make its mark, but had not checked on trademarks elsewhere. A jeans company in Japan had a similar name and effectively killed off the local product.
“Do your homework. Make sure the brand is available. Otherwise it can all go pear-shaped,” he said.
Mr Gourley said Cullens looked forward to working with CCIQ small business members throughout Queensland and advising them of potential hazards with patents, designs and trademarks.
Regan Gourley practices in both patents and trademarks, with the majority of his work being in mechanical devices, alternative energy systems and apparatus and computer implemented inventions in the area of business methods and financial systems. Although his clients include several large national and international companies, the majority Regan’s clients are local small to medium businesses and individual inventors. Regan regularly speaks at commercialisation seminars as well as mentor in start-up and growing businesses.
Join Cullens patents and trademarks attorney Len Mancini for a March 4 webinar, hosted by CCIQ: Your IP Health Check. Register here.