Trademark infringement can be defined as a violation of the exclusive rights attached to a trademark without the approval or consent of the trademark owner.
Trade mark infringement is becoming more common. With more and more business names being snapped up, domains, social media handles, company names – the chances for businesses to be stepping on other toes are increasing.
International businesses are coming to Australia and starting to protect their intellectual property here in Australia, registering trade marks and pursuing those who come too close.
Big business in Australia have been known to do this for a long time because they had the resources to monitor and pursue trade mark infringements. But now that intellectual property represents a larger part of small businesses in Australia, it is now starting to heat up for small business as well because the damage can be just as great for a small business (size-wise) as it can be for a big business.
The ability to search online for offending material is also a lot easier.
What do I do if someone is infringing my intellectual property?
It’s better to get a third party to find a resolution to an intellectual property infringement.
Please note: names have been changed in the following Trade Mark Infringement case study.
Michael has a famous surname. He’s a public speaker, author and inspirational coach. He shares his surname with an international corporation. Although he didn’t realise it, some of the activities he was conducting were actually infringing the same activities of this corporation.
When Michael filed his trade mark application, very soon after he received a letter from the largest law firm in the world! Acting on behalf of the international corporation, they were suspicious of his use of the name. And they were obviously very keen to make sure he didn’t misuse it, or infringe on their existing copyright protections.
Luckily Michael came to us as soon as he received the opposition to his trade mark application. We were able to negotiate with the international corporation regarding the trade mark.
This case had a good outcome in what could have been an extremely costly and lengthy process of opposition and appeal against Michael’s trade mark application.
The moral of the story…
Always file your trade mark applications as soon as possible.
The headstart process is extremely helpful in identifying whether there are likely to be any oppositions to an application either by another party or by IP Australia. It’s no guarantee, as a business may oppose your application, but it’s a great start.
Get sound advice (or use professionals such as the team at Progressive Legal) to ensure that all proper processes and all due diligence has been followed.
If you have filed the application yourself and receive any opposing correspondence, don’t delay – seek legal advice immediately – as time is of the essence.
Contact us today if you require any assistance with a dispute resolution matter.