Your business’s Intellectual Property (IP) is extremely valuable. It covers a wide range of intangible assets from your ideas and inventions, to your logos, branding or art. It represents the hard work and dedication you’ve poured into making your business unique and successful – what sets you apart from others.
Businesses of any size, and in any industry, can fall victim to IP infringements. It’s crucial to do your due diligence to ensure you have all the necessary protections in place for your own assets. This also ensures you’re not infringing on anyone else and making yourself vulnerable to legal action. But, we acknowledge that it can be time consuming (and confusing) to go through the legal formalities if you’re not familiar with how it all works. In fact, we’ve seen it first hand. One of the first projects Aintree Group Legal took on after its inception was helping Aintree Group itself with trademarks.
A Case Study – The value of having the right help
Even professionals need expert advice! Aintree Group has been in business for over 18 years as an accounting and advisory firm, and founders Shane and Andrea had previously looked at trademarking countless times. They knew it was important, but they always ran into roadblocks, found the process difficult to understand, and just weren’t exactly sure what they did and did not need to protect. Coupled with being time-poor business owners, trademarking was one of those tasks that just kept getting pushed further down the to-do list.
After launching Aintree Group Legal, Shane and Andrea immediately approached us for help, and suddenly with the right expertise everything quickly fell into place.
We were able to identify exactly what Aintree Group did (and didn’t) need to trademark, and what combination of classes was the most cost-effective to ensure the most protection. Within a few months, Aintree Group had a Registered Trademark keeping their intellectual property safe.
However, this is also a cautionary tale. Aintree Group’s case also shows how important it is to be on the front foot, and be proactive around trademarking something that is of value. Although they successfully received a Certificate of Registration Trademark for their logo, they ran into issues trying to trademark the business name “Aintree Group”.
One particular trademarking limitation in Australia is that it is difficult to register trademarks that include a place name. Unfortunately, the Melbourne suburb of Aintree was established in 2017 unbeknownst to them. This immediately restricted their ability to trademark anything with the word “Aintree” in it – despite Aintree Group existing first. We can helped them prove to IP Australia that they were using the name first, but it would be complex and costly, and easily avoidable had they prioritised their IP when first establishing the business.
There are two key lessons to be learned from their experience:
- Firstly, you should always protect your IP as soon as possible when starting your business, because you never know what might change further down the track, and prevention is always better than cure. Just registering a business name with ASIC does not provide you with any IP protection. In the meantime someone else might register the same or a similar trademark with IP Australia, or you might simply not be able to register your brand for reasons beyond your control – just like what happened with the name Aintree.
- Secondly, if you are starting a new business and looking at what to call it, keep in mind that if you are intending to name your business after the suburb it operates in, you’re going to severely restrict your ability to register trademarks and protect your IP.
Take Action – Prioritise IP in 2023
If trademarking is something you keep putting off, you’re definitely not alone. But this is your sign to do something about it in 2023.
Aintree Group Legal can assist with the following advice on intellectual property and trademarking services:
- Intellectual Property due diligence and auditing;
- Registering trademark or patent applications;
- Advising you on copyright:
- Brand protection advice and management;
- Recommending asset protection structures;
- Disputes relating to Intellectual Property, trademark infringements and oppositions;
- Preparing all forms and documentation relating to Intellectual Property rights, including licence agreements and IP assignment deeds.
Get in touch with our team today for a free trademark consultation, so we can help protect what you’ve worked so hard to build.