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Australia

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T. 1800 85 7070
F. 07 3319 6202
E. mail [at] ipwealth.com.au

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ASIC Warns Directors About Trade Marks

Trademarks vs Company Names vs Business Names

Back in 2012, the Australian business name system and the company naming system became one. The purpose of this combined system in one register is to:

“provide a way to identify the entity that is carrying on business under a business name.”  – asic.gov.au

It’s only purpose it to identify the owners of these business. A business name or company name provides you no legal ownership to that name, just a way to identify you.  Interestingly people can trade in their own name legal without a business name. They will still need register for ABN. Also companies can  be registered with, and trade with, only a ACN number, but few do. When you registered your business name/company, they never asked you what goods or services your provided.

Only when you apply for a registered trademark are these questioned asked. And only a registered trademark gives you legal ownership and protection for goods or services you applied for. This first step is a trademark search.

 

Australian Government Cautious Over Trademark Application

The Australian Government is seeking legal advice over the name “Primary Health Network”. This was to be the new brand of its revamped Medicare Local, a network of doctors and other health providers that help maintain the public health system. However on the 14th May 2014, a private company, Primary Health Care Network Pty Ltd applied to Register this as a Trademark.  The Department of Health has advised its ‘network’ not to spend any  money on stationary or branding until the issue is resolved. The trademark is still under examination. This points out the importance of conducting a professional trademark search at the early stages of brand development. It shows the expense of re-branding can be avoided by getting a trademark search first. This is common mistake, as it turns out even a government can make.

Big Decision in Lego Shape Trademark Challenge

Lego-Man-Australian-Trademark-Part-Details
The shape of Danish company Lego’s famed toys is a protected shape trademark, according to the General Court of the European Union.  Rival company Best Lock, of Britain, had sought to copy the design and have the trademark invalidated based on the technical function of the toys. However, the court found that the “key elements” of the shape of the figurines were unique enough to uphold the “three-dimensional trademark” challenge. The ruling even came complete with smiling drawings of a Lego man.

If you are considering protecting a shape trademark there are two points to remember. Firstly, the shape trademark cannot be related to, or directly describe the product or service. Secondly, the drawings that go with the application must be 3D line drawings in black and white for maximum protection. For more information contact IP Wealth.