Doppelgängers in retail? That’s right! Australia seems to be copying a few of our all-American favorite stores like Target, Kmart, and Kohl’s. When you decide to start a business or if you have a product that you want to put on the market, you have to decide the future of your intellectual property. In our society, it is very easy for things to go viral. This is especially true with regard to social media exposure, which allows for items to go global rather quickly. For that reason, you have to make sure your IP is properly registered and or licensed. You must think about the effects of your product not just in your immediate market, yet the world as a whole.
However, if your general trademark is for local purposes, you will want to focus registration of your trademark in the country in which you are doing business. Yet when you decide to go outside of your home borders, there will be new challenges to consider when you need to register your IP to protect it, yet someone else already has the same name.
Such is the case for the Australian business Wesfarmers Ltd. “Founded in 1919 as a farmer’s cooperative, Wesfarmers has grown into one of Australia’s largest companies with over $57 billion in revenue in 2012.” This company owns quite of bit of businesses ranging from supermarkets and department stores to fertilizers and industrial equipment. It has utilized U.S. brands to make their own spin off of U.S. department stores. This situation makes it difficult if any of these American companies ever desire to do business in Australia because their name—and sometimes logo, is already taken.
Law firms that regularly work with intellectual property can register your trademarks and copyrights for individuals and businesses to ensure that your intellectual property is protected both at the state, federal, and international levels.
Trademark and copyright lawyers also represent clients in federal litigation as it concerns marks or copyrights in which clients believe there has been infringement and where an injunction would be required.
Consider the example of the trademark case between Microsoft’s Skype and British broadcaster Sky. Their names are so similar that the General Court of the European Union ruled that the public is likely to confuse the two. Microsoft is intending to appeal the decision, yet if the appeals court affirms the decision, Sky could potentially ask Microsoft for a licensing fee to use the Skype name in Europe, although the broadcaster has not indicated it wishes to do so.
Do not wait, take action! It is time to take charge of your success and carefully monitor your intellectual property portfolio. If your business is important to you then you should not take chances with your intellectual property. By allowing the right law firm to help you create, apply, and protect your Intellectual Property you will be able to maximize the monetary growth of your business ensuring a successful future.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein is not intended to be specific legal advice for your particular situation. It is meant to provide general information on the changing landscape of the law. You are encouraged to contact legal counsel for legal advice specific to your particular legal situation.