Georgina Hey (AU)

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No use crying over spilt (plant-based-dairy-free-alternatives-to) milk?

Every trendy café these days seems to have a selection of dairy-free milk alternatives as long as a wine list, from the usual suspects like soy, coconut and almond, to more unusual new favourites like rice, hemp, pea, flax and oat. With vegan, dairy-free or plant-based diets becoming more and more popular for health, environmental, … Continue reading

Amended Australian IP laws receive Royal Assent with little fanfare

On 24 August 2018, the creatively named Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 1 and Other Measures) Bill 2018 quietly received Royal Assent, with some parts of the new Act entering into force the following day. As the name indicates, the primary focus of the new legislation is to implement the recommendations made … Continue reading

Mirror, mirror on the wall, what’s my taxable Insta value after all?

In sad news for celebrities and Instagram influencers across Australia, the introduction of the so-called ‘fame tax’ as part of a raft of integrity measures announced in the 2018/19 budget means that they could end up paying higher taxes on the income and non-cash benefits earned through the commercial exploitation of their image rights. In … Continue reading

The European Commission has its say: EU trade marks post-Brexit

On 28 February 2018, the European Commission released its draft withdrawal agreement setting out a proposal on the arrangements for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU (Withdrawal Agreement). The full text of the Withdrawal Agreement can be viewed here: European Commission’s Draft Withdrawal Agreement dated 28 February 2018 (see Title IV on Intellectual … Continue reading

Cybersquatters – How to protect your brand from unwanted ‘guests’ online

The internet is now the normal conduit for everyday personal, commercial and social transactions. It is more important than ever to ensure that your consumers know where to find your business online, and that no third parties are seeking to trade off your reputation in the online space. Domain names are the primary form of … Continue reading

What Brexit means for IP: The UK Law Society, the IP Bar, CIPA and CITMA weigh in on Brexit strategy

It’s no surprise that many in the professional and legal services industries are putting increasing thought into what the post-Brexit world will, or should, look like. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) in the UK has been the latest body to put its two cents (or pennies) into the mix. Brand owners from all … Continue reading

New country of origin food labelling requirements for Australia – is your packaging up to scratch?

Businesses have until 1 July 2018 to transition to a new system of country of origin labelling for food products in Australia. The incoming Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 (Standard) imposes stricter labelling requirements on “priority”, as opposed to “non-priority”, foods and is intended to help consumers better understand where their food … Continue reading

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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