Georgina Hey (AU)

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Managing your products when a patent expires – how good brand management can maintain product and brand awareness, and build market share

The Australian Government’s recently expressed interest in cracking down on misuses of market power may have left some patent holders with concerns about the proposed amendments to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the Act). All the fuss relates to section 46 of the Act: the provision which prohibits a company with a substantial degree … Continue reading

‘Apples, Beatles and four decades of litigation’ – Cautionary tales for start-ups settling on a new brand name

Apple: the world’s most successful company, with an estimated worth of three-quarters of a trillion dollars. It’s no wonder that would-be tech entrepreneurs around the world are sitting around in black turtlenecks, jeans and New Balance sneakers, poring over Steve Jobs’ biography and trying to work out how they might emulate his success in their … Continue reading

Rebranding 4.0: Why authenticity matters to socially-aware consumers, and how to convey it

Increasingly affordable renewables, coupled with consumers’ sensitivity to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, are driving a profound shift in energy markets worldwide. Nowhere is this more apparent than in brand equity, and the trust levels displayed by the public towards traditional energy businesses versus green, dynamic start-ups. Rebranding is a powerful tool to close … Continue reading

Promoting an innovation economy – Australian Government responds to Productivity Commission’s report into IP arrangements

We recently published an article on the potential impact on the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry Report on Intellectual Property Arrangements (Report) on Australia’s innovation economy. The Australian Government has now responded to the Report, supporting the Commission’s recommendations to reform the patent system, but stopping short of embracing the extensive copyright overhaul recommended in the Report, … Continue reading

Rebranding in the energy market – The issues to consider

A number of energy giants have recently undergone corporate rebranding exercises. The motivations of these powerhouses often vary, from unifying a group after a series of mergers and acquisitions, to repairing reputational damage, to just aligning with a new corporate vision.  Tesla dropped “Motors” from its branding in 2016 to promote its clean energy solutions … Continue reading

Maximise your IP to enhance franchise value

Franchising is, in essence, a business model built on intellectual property (IP) – it provides a useful forum for commercialising IP.  Franchisors gain by sharing use of their IP (including trade marks, patents, designs, copyright materials, know-how and/or confidential information) in return for a fee, and franchisees benefit by obtaining the benefit of an established … Continue reading

Productivity Commission’s Report on Australia’s IP system

The Inquiry Report into Intellectual Property Arrangements recently published by the Productivity Commission (Report) argues that Australia’s IP system is weighted too heavily in favour of rights holders and against the interests of the broader community. It has made various recommendations to correct this perceived imbalance. This article considers some of the recommended changes which, … Continue reading

Protecting Australian brands in China

Summary China continues to emerge as one of the most important intellectual property (IP) destinations for Australians, having overtaken the US and New Zealand as Australia’s predominant destination market for Australian trade marks filed overseas in 2011. With the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) coming into force last year, China is now Australia’s largest trading … Continue reading

Global health trends impacting the regulation of food and beverage labels

As global rates of obesity and related diseases continue to rise, consumers around the world are becoming more health conscious, and are expecting their food products to reflect their desire for healthier options. A recent Nielsen Global Health and Wellness Survey found that, of the 30 000 people across 60 countries surveyed, 49% consider themselves … Continue reading

Chinese trade mark decision creates greater certainty for manufacturers

There has been ongoing uncertainty over whether brand owners who manufacture branded goods in China, but do not sell those products in China, could infringe a Chinese trade mark registration held by a third party in that country. A recent Supreme People’s Court (SPC) decision clarifies that applying a trade mark to goods in China … Continue reading

When your brand becomes a product descriptor

Beware of the slide into “genericide” When launching a new brand, it is a marketer’s dream to have that brand name on every consumer’s lips, no matter the consequences. However, sometimes this is ultimately to the detriment of the brand. Just ask the owners of the XEROX or BAND-AID brands, which both fell victim to … Continue reading

What’s in a survey? The place of consumer surveys in establishing whether a trade mark is inherently distinctive

Consumer surveys have long been denegrated by Australian Courts as being of little use in trade mark cases to establish likelihood of confusion. The probity of these surveys has been of little concern for establishing trade mark distinctiveness because the key legal question for inherent distinctiveness has been the legitimate need for other traders to … Continue reading

“Google’s Adwords Trademark Policy – what Australian brand owners need to know”

What is all the fuss about? Picture this: you type your brand name into Google. As expected, your brand’s website is returned as an “organic” result. However, a competitor’s brand is returned as a “sponsored” result (now known as a Google Ad), at the top or to the right hand side of the results page. … Continue reading

Protecting your brand in the world of smart phones and tablets – trade marks for apps

Introduction With the rise of the smart phone and tablet, the development of an ‘app’ or ‘application software’ has become a key element in any business, alongside the obligatory Facebook and Twitter accounts. An app is software developed specifically for mobile devices which may have a variety of functions, including games, financial services, interactive maps, … Continue reading
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