Glittering high heels on a concert stage

The Kylie trademark case

By James Wan

What you need to know (in a nutshell)

  1. Registering a business name does not give exclusive rights to it, therefore it’s important to trademark your business name to prevent others from using it and potentially damaging your sales or reputation.
  2. It’s important to check that a business name is available to trademark before launching your business to avoid costly re-branding later on.
  3. A trademark is a form of intellectual property that can protect your investment by ensuring no one else can use or intentionally copy your brand identity. It can also prevent your brand from being associated with inferior products or shady business practices and reduce the risk of customers being confused with similar products and service offerings. Engaging a trademark attorney can help navigate the complex trademark registration process

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Before launching your business, check its name is available to trademark. Not doing so could lead to costly re-brands or others using it and damaging sales/reputation. Registering a business name does not grant exclusive rights - you must take steps further by trademarking the name for protection.

Kylie Jenner found out the hard way that you can’t just use a popular name without consequence. Her billion-dollar cosmetics company was challenged when she used ‘Kylie’ as its trademark, due to Australian pop star Kylie Minogue having an enforceable trademark already in place.

Trademarks are a type of intellectual property, ranging from phrases and symbols to pictures, sounds, smells or movements - even experiences created with these elements.

Trademarks safeguard businesses’ investments, preventing confusion and imitation of a brand. Kylie Minogue’s team had to protect her from being mistaken for another TV personality (Kylie Jenner) - ouch!

Trademarks help protect brands from being associated with low-quality products or unethical practices, as well as reduce confusion between similar goods and services. Many high-profile people and companies have taken legal action against smaller enterprises - including Louis Vuitton, Adidas & Beyonce Knowles - to defend their products’ revenue streams and reputations.

Safeguarding your business

Before investing time and money in registering a trademark, ensure It’s available by searching relevant databases. The registration process can take up to 7 months so double-check beforehand! Ms Jenner’s mistake serves as an example of why this step should not be overlooked.

Consulting a trademark lawyer specialising in the field can help simplify the trademark process and avoid future issues.

A business name grants you trading rights, whilst a trademark provides exclusive ownership of your company’s moniker.

A trademark can comprise letters, numbers, words, phrases, logos, images and more - or a combination of these.

To ensure a smooth trademark search and registration process, It’s advisable to enlist the help of an experienced trademark attorney.