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What 2018 Taught Us in Protecting Our Business

Category: Trademark Information

2018’s trademark news taught us a thing or two about protecting our business’ intellectual property. Let’s refresh those lessons with this roundup.

February 2018
The Increasing Importance of Trademarks in the Digital Age

Misappropriating brands and products has never been easier with e-commerce and online sales technologies. Thankfully, online retail giants like Amazon are paving the way to protect vendors with registered trademarks. The Amazon Brand Registry, in particular, restricts other vendors from copying and selling products with other sellers’ registered trademarks. The efforts of big entities to protect brands against identity theft means that in order for businesses to be helped, they first have to register their trademark.

April 2018
How Apple Protects Its New Products and Brands with Trademarking Tactics

Companies can learn a lot from Apple’s trademarking tactics. As one of the biggest names across the globe, Apple has to double its efforts in protecting its products and brands.

Prior to launching a new line, the tech giant files for a trademark in countries whose system is not accessible through an online database. This prevents rivals from searching trademark offices around the world, keeping their new line a secret until it is unveiled. The tactic also takes advantage of US Trademark Act. Section 44, allowing businesses to register their trademark in a country before filing for registration in the US.

May 2018
What the Free Trade with the EU Means for Businesses in Australia

The Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement poses challenges and opportunities for Australia’s businesses. Australia’s businesses may be able to expand its market but they will have to find means to protect their brand internationally. Another pressing concern is that European farmers expect Australian farmers to follow the EU’s law on using geographical indicators such as parmesan and feta. Businesses who wish to penetrate the European market may need to rebrand, dropping key terms from their labels and secure global trademark registrations.

June 2018
6 Trademark Mistakes Startups Should Avoid

The impetus for start-ups to carve out a distinct identity is great. This, however, leads them to commit grave trademark mistakes that either leave them unprotected from brand identity theft or makes them liable for infringement issues. Just some of those grave mistakes are: failing to check if an aspect in their brand is a registered trademark; trademarking overly generic brand descriptors; assuming that having the ™ symbol is sufficient to protect the brand name; failing to assign trademark ownership properly and assuming that the trademark protects all goods or services.

July 2018
Do Trademark Laws Apply to Google AdWords?

Is it considered a trademark infringement if you use a trademarked term on Google AdWords?

The battle between Australia’s online shopping pioneers Catch Group and Kogan raised this question once again when Catch Group filed a complaint against Kogan for using the term ‘catch’ in its AdWords campaign. The court still does not have a verdict but the case reinforces one thing we already know: the best way to protect your trademarks is to have them registered. Like Amazon, Google is now protecting trademark owners allowing them to submit a dissatisfaction notice if someone uses their trademark in an ad’s text. Plus, provisions from the Trademarks Act and Australian Consumer Law give businesses more layers of protection.

August 2018
Not Applying for a Trademark Spells Disaster for Your Business

Applying for a trademark could mean either success or shut down for your business. Many business owners have their business name registered, build their business then discover much later that their name is trademarked by another entity. When escalated to the court, these business owners often find themselves needing to change their brand and paying for damages. If the infringement is sentenced as a crime, the court can order a six-figure fine or jail sentences.

September 2018
TV Chef James Cochran Battles Former Restaurant Over Trade Mark Name

Great British Menu Chef James Cochran found that he could no longer use his own name for business because his former employer trademarked the James Cochran name. The chef left his self-named restaurant James Cochran EC3 in April and discovered in August that his former employer Rayuela Limited is selling ‘James Cochran branded’ dishes. The parties then got into a row on Twitter, revealing disagreement between James and his employer prior to his resignation. Sadly for James, as his former employer formally registered the trademark, the company can profit from his name even if he is no longer affiliated with them.

November 2018
Using Do-It-Yourself or Online Trademark Registrations Can Be Disastrous

Online trademark registration companies have been popping up, offering easy solutions for companies to have their brand trademarked. Many of these companies, however, are scammers leaving businesses unprotected and at risk of infringement lawsuits.

There is also a rising number of business owners trying to DIY their trademark registration. Not familiar with the complexities of the process, owners find themselves spending more time and money on registration.

Overall, 2018 has shown us that despite the opportunities they provide, technology and globalisation creates challenges for businesses in protecting their brands. As legislation and tech companies policies are still adapting to changes, business owners must be more vigilant in protecting their brands.

Our advice?

Save yourself time, money, and energy, and work with Pinnacle TMS. We have extensive experience in helping our clients protect their brands in Australia and overseas. Contact us today for a consultation.

The Elements of Intellectual Property Legislation

Category: Trademark Information

If you want to protect your rights to something that you or your organisation have created or commissioned, be it a new product or service, a creative endeavour or any other kind of intellectual property, then you may find the terminology confusing if you’re not used to it. Indeed, much of it is used interchangeably (not always correctly) and there is a certain overlap between the areas of legislation.

Let’s take some of the main terms. The ‘trademark’ is an idea that has been around in some form since the first craftsmen put personal marks on their piecework to ensure they were paid for it. Most governments began to introduce trademark legislation in the 19th Century, when industrialisation and an increasingly global marketplace created a need for a clear legal framework for the exchange of goods and services.

A trademark is an image or a name, word or phrase that distinguishes goods (or services, although you may sometimes see the term ‘service mark, in this context) produced or provided by a specific party from those of any other.

While it is advisable to formally register your trademark, it is not actually necessary. The right to use a trademark is established mainly by using it.  So, if you are the owner of a well-known brand and a competitor gives their product a name which might be mistaken for yours, then you have a right to challenge them, regardless of whether your trademark is registered or not. However the benefit of a trade mark registration is that you do not have to gather evidence of your reputation in a brand.  Trade mark infringement action is readily available to stop a competitor copying your brand and trading on your hardearned reputation in the marketplace.

Unlike a trademark, which serves to protect a brand and can be renewed indefinitely, a ‘patent’ registration protects an invention or function of a product, for a limited time – generally 20 years. Different countries have different definitions of what constitutes a patentable invention. In general, to be acceptable for a patent, the invention must be genuinely innovative, useful (although that, of course is a rather subjective standard), and not so obvious that nobody has bothered to patent it before. An inventor who has developed a revolutionary gadget needs to secure a patent before approaching potential investors or business partners. If they do not, then they will have no rights over their invention if another party who sees the design and already has the manufacturing capabilities decides to make it for themselves and keep the profits!

Trademarks and patents are two of the most popular means for protecting different forms of ‘intellectual property’, which is basically anything that comes about as the result of human creativity and ingenuity. It includes intangible goods such as music and other creative works, many of which are protected by another branch of intellectual property law – copyright, as well as designs, inventions and developments in many other fields, such as new chemical compounds or plant varieties.

The issue of intellectual property is particularly relevant in the internet age. The ability to share data and bypass rights has sparked an often heated debate about the ethics of intellectual property ownership which shows no sign of abating.

Using Do-It-Yourself or Online Trademark Registrations Can Be Disastrous

Category: Trademark Information

Are you ready to register your brand as a trademark? Look no further than an in-person professional trademark specialist.

Recently, many more people are fallen victims to overseas and online scams regarding trademarks. Filing with an online company, particularly those based overseas, can have disastrous results, and can even result in cease and desist letters from a lawyer or a competitor.

Why? Firstly, These foreign companies may not have the right to file on behalf of an in-country trademark applicant.  Secondly, they may not have qualified personal to oversee the process. Having a professional trademark specialist oversee your application and file it on your behalf is essential. The paperwork, while complex, can be tricky to the untrained applicant.

There are several things that can happen to your trademark application if you use an overseas or mass market firm, especially one that seems too good to be true.

  • The application can be abandoned if there is no one to take queries from the Trade Marks Office.
  • There may not be resources for clients who are challenged, especially for infringement, during the application process.
  • Due to lack of research and resources, the application can lapse because the research was not complete
  • The mass market or an overseas firm may not be totally honest or knowledgeable about whether you have the right to register your trademark in the first place.
  • The resulting registration may not adequately protect your brand or may over protect it leaving it vulnerable to an application for non-use.

These are just the problems resulting from a mass market or overseas online trademark registrations. While these companies may not have the time or resources to properly attend to a trademark registration in foreign countries, there is another pitfall related to those who think they have the time: the do-it-yourself businessperson.

Business owners are often in the do-it-yourself arena. Often, doing things themselves saves money.

With filing a trademark application, this often turns out not to be the case.

It is important to recognize the reasons you would use a professional trademark specialist and the complexity of the trademark registration process which we often discuss but you can see these on our website

Save yourself time, money, and energy, and work with Pinnacle TMS. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing successfully with the Trade Marks Office, as well as overseas lawyers, were necessary, to secure trademark registrations around the world for our clients.

TV Chef James Cochran Battles Former Restaurant Over Trade Mark Name

Category: Trademark Information

Chef James Cochran, who appears on the TV show Great British Menu 2018, is facing off with his former restaurant James Cochran EC3 over the registration and use of his name.

James Cochran was formerly of two-Michelin star restaurant The Ledbury located in West London. He opened his self-titled restaurant the James Cochran EC3 in 2016. He left the restaurant last April, two months before his slated appearance on the renowned BBC 2 cooking show.

Cochran’s Recipes

To his surprise, even after his departure, the restaurant sold recipes under his name—in packages like £50 for five recipes—which prompted the chef to respond. In a tweet, James Cochran wrote: “Wtf?? Who is going to pay £25 a week just to add my name in front of the recipe?? I will give you the recipes for free if your that low!!”

Rayuela Limited, Cochran’s former employer, includes the recipes on the website, with the header saying “TRADEMARKED FOR A REASON.” The website offers not only licenses for interested partners to use the recipes but also the promotional use of the James Cochran name and trademark.

Chef Cochran links the timing of the release of the recipes with his recent public appearances. He writes: “It’s crazy…just are just trying to cash in on me for being on TV this week!!”

Rayuela’s Response

A spokesperson for Rayuela took to Twitter to issue a statement, saying that the company was able to file for the proper ownership of the James Cochran trademark before Chef Cochran issued his resignation. They were also able to file it before the Great British Menu finished filming, implying that the two issues were not related.

The filing of the trademark registration complicates the matter. The restaurant refers to the Act in a tweet calling for support for Cochran (the restaurant), saying that intellectual property is rightfully owned by the employer, and that Cochran was merely an employee.

Rayuela also adds that they have attempted to negotiate ownership of the trademark with Cochran, but the chef is not willing to pay the full amount for complete trademarking.

Trademark Laws

Trademark registration not only secures your brand and reputation, it also assists in making your business distinguishable and recognisable from competitors.  In the case of James Cochran, the company can continually profit from his recipes even if he is longer affiliated with them—which means he does not receive any compensation for his creation. The restaurant maintains, however, that they have formally registered the trademark, giving them the right to use the trademarked name, which is within their rights as a legal owner.

Pinnacle can help you with your questions on trademarking your brand, whether its your name or the name of a product or service. We have years of experience in protecting brands from theft both locally and internationally, and we can assist you with the whole registration process to ensure that your brand is safe and secure.

Send us an email at or schedule a consultation with us at

Not Applying for a Trademark Spells Disaster for Your Business

Category: Trademark Information

This story might be familiar to you. An aspiring businessman sets up his own venture. He spends hours deciding on a business name, which he registers at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and puts it on all his products. All seems to go well but a few months later, a lawyer reaches out to him and tells him he has no right to use his business name. Turns out, the business name is trademarked by another business. The mishap led them to court, and the man lost the business he’s worked so hard for.

A lot of people are like this businessman. They believe that once they’ve registered their business name, everything would sail smoothly. But there’s a world of difference between a business name and a trademark. This is what Pinnacle TMS strives to educate our clients about —applying for a trademark could mean either success and shut down for your business.

Business Name vs. Trademark

Business names are required in running a venture in Australia if you are not using your own name, but registering one doesn’t give you exclusive rights to use it.

A trademark, on the other hand, is a legally protected word, phrase, shape, logo, and more, which helps people identify your product or service. It gives you the exclusive rights to use and sell the mark.

There are two possible consequences if you do not apply for a trademark for your business name. First, the party that owns the trademark of your business name can take legal action against you. Second, you have no legal power to stop anyone from using your business name.

Legal Actions Against the Use of a Trademark

When you use a business’ trademark without authorisation, you are infringing on another’s rights. It could be deemed as an unlawful act.

In some cases, the aggrieved party sends you a cease and desist letter. This is a legally enforceable order that directs you to stop using the trademarked name and remove it from your products and services. You need to change your name and start from square one.

If you ignore this, the aggrieved party could commence legal proceedings whch could mean you could end up in Court.  If they win, not only would you have to stop using the trademark, but the aggrieved party could also seek compensation in the form of damages. If the infringement is determined to be a crime, the court could order a six figure fine or jail sentences.

This is graver when small businesses are involved. Huge and established brands have the money and resources to defend themselves from allegations and go for a quiet settlement. Small enterprises might not be as fortunate.

Businesses with Similar Names

Without a trademark, it is difficult and expensive to stop a competitor from using your business name. This is detrimental to your business. Not only can businesses with the same name compete with you, but customers could also think they’re affiliated with your brand.

There are ways to protect an unregistered trademark, though. If your business name (an unregistered trademark) has built a significant reputational value, the businesses who use it might be accused of passing off as your business.

These accusations may be difficult to prove, however. The best way to protect your intellectual property and save yourself from the significant defence is to apply for a trademark registration.

Register Your Trademark

With so much at stake, it’s imperative that you register your trademark as soon as possible.  The cost to register your trade mark vs the amount you would need to spend in legal and possibly court fees  is significantly less.     The protection trade mark registration guarantees security for your business in the long run. It’s a business asset and a worthy investment.

Contact our experts to help you apply for a trademark.