Insights / February 17th, 2020

A right royal reminder to protect your trade mark

No doubt you would have seen the recent news stories relating to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s “Megxit” from the British Royal Family. One aspect of the media hysteria has highlighted the fact that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have applied to register their trade mark “Sussex Royal” and that it has been the subject of initial opposition proceedings. This provides a timely reminder to not only apply to register your business’ trade mark, but to actively protect your brand too.

The trade mark application lodged on behalf of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the United Kingdom has been the subject of a number of Notices of Threatened Opposition during its advertising period. Whilst the legitimacy of these oppositions may be another story, not all trade mark applicants are aware that their application to register a trade mark may be opposed by another party notwithstanding whether it has been accepted for registration by the government authority.

Trade mark opposition in Australia

In Australia, once a trade mark application has been accepted for registration by IP Australia, it is advertised in the Australian Official Journal of Trade Marks for a period of two months during which a third party may oppose registration of the trade mark. There are a number of grounds of opposition pursuant to which a party may oppose a trade mark application. Businesses which have similar trade marks often file notices of opposition in respect of their competitor’s trade mark applications.

Protecting your brand

Given the monopoly rights which are granted to the owner of a registered trade mark, it is surprising the number of businesses which do not actively seek to assert such rights. Trade mark watching services are a proactive measure that you can take to ensure that a trade mark which has been recently accepted by IP Australia does not proceed to registration. More registered trade marks may dilute the strength of your own trade mark and brand. Watching services should include reviewing the Australian Official Journal of Trade Marks as well as broader searches on the internet generally.

Having registered your own business’ trade mark will obviously assist your case in dealing with potentially infringing trade marks. Cowell Clarke happily assists clients to protect their trade marks at all stages of the process. We can assist you to apply for a new trade mark and undertake watching services to ensure that any similar applications are on your radar. If we identify similar trade mark applications which may impact your brand, we also have a strong intellectual property dispute team who is well armoured to go into battle to protect your brand.

If you have any queries regarding trade mark registration and protection, please contact a member of our team – Contact Us.

This publication has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only and does not constitute professional legal advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional legal advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication and to the extent permitted by law, Cowell Clarke does not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any consequences of you or anyone else acting or refraining to act in relation on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.