Fashion IP | Spring Clean Your Trade Mark Portfolio
Anita Brown of Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick takes us through how to look after your fashion brand's trade mark portfolio.
If you’re an established or up-and-coming fashion label, your brand is your most valuable asset. It’s the hallmark of your label’s quality, style and prestige. It’s what sets you apart from other clothing lines.
Like your wardrobe or your house, your trade mark portfolio should also have an annual Spring clean. Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is a timely reminder to dust off your portfolio, get rid of any clutter and make sure your shiny brand is being well-looked after. Here’s one way to tackle the task:
Review all trade marks used in your business and divide into three piles:
- throw away
For those trade marks in your ‘keep’ pile:
- Check whether the mark is the subject of a trade mark application or registration on the IP Australia website, ipaustralia.gov.au. If it is, ensure your registration is valid or your application is alive and note any deadlines for renewal or other action.
- Ensure the application/registration is in the name of the correct person or company (not a former owner or company name).
- Conduct a sweep of the Internet and other relevant places (such as the weekend markets) for any unauthorised use of your trade mark by third parties. Seek legal advice if any unauthorised use is found.
- If you’ve had issues with counterfeit products, consider lodging a Notice of Objection with the Australian Border Force (Customs).
- Ensure your marks are used consistently throughout your business. If your logo has changed, seek advice on obtaining a new trade mark registration.
- Make sure your marks are always used as an adjective and not a noun or a verb in marketing or advertising materials.
- If the mark isn’t registered or it is the subject of a trade mark application, seek advice on registering your trade mark both in Australia and/or overseas.
- If your mark is the subject of a licence, ensure the licensee is complying with its obligations under the licence agreement.
For those trade marks in your ‘review’ pile, consider the mark’s value and whether it remains a good fit for your business. Does it generate revenue, provide a competitive advantage, attract investment or add to the sale value of your business?
For those trade marks in your ‘throw away’ pile, consider whether there is any prospect of selling them to a third party. If not, remove them from your trade mark records.
If you require further information, or you would like to arrange a free consultation to discuss your trade mark portfolio Spring clean or any other IP issues, please contact Anita Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.