We’ve seen pop culture icons like Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Kylie Minogue use a powerful yet affordable tool over the years - registered trade marks. But, why should startups pay attention? Let’s find out.
Taylor Swift is a big fan of trade marking. From song lyrics to album titles, she’s got them all under registered trade mark protection. Remember when she faced a claim from Utah-based theme park, Evermore Park? Swift’s sharp-witted response was a counter lawsuit that also involved copyright infringement. Swift won the bout, thanks to her smart move of trade marking ‘Evermore’ back in 2020.
When reality TV star and entrepreneur Kylie Jenner applied to trade mark her first name, the pop icon Kylie Minogue took a stand. Minogue argued that she had been known by her first name for decades and already owned a number of Kylie-related trade marks. The result? Jenner’s trade mark application was dismissed.
As entrepreneurs, we often underestimate the importance of protecting our brand and reputation. A startup’s success relies on factors like an innovative idea, hard work, and dedication. But safeguarding that success? That’s where trade marks come in.
A trade mark is a simple and effective way to protect your brand and provides you with a legal avenue to tackle any copycats.
Registered trade marks aren’t just for big businesses or celebrities. Protecting your brand, product, and service with a registered trade mark can cost as little as $250 (a little more if you require professional assistance from a registered trade marks attorney). From application, the registration process in Australia takes several months, so it’s important to get the ball rolling early in your startup journey.
Katie Taylor, an Australian business owner, offers a perfect example. She registered a trade mark for her sustainable clothing label, Katie Perry. When the pop singer Katy Perry demanded Taylor stop trading under the Katie Perry name, Taylor was prepared. She had her registered trade mark to protect her brand. In the end, the court found in Taylor’s favour, highlighting the importance of registering a trade mark.
Only 4% of Australia’s small businesses and startups register a trade mark. Why? Lauren Stokoe of IP Australia’s TM Checker points to a lack of awareness of what a trade mark is, a belief that applications are costly and time-consuming, and a notion that it’s too late to register a trade mark.
She encourages startups and business owners to do a free trade mark check to see where they stand. With TM Checker, it’s easier for small businesses to check if a trademark is available.