Trade Marks and Shark Tanks!

I’ve been watching a lot of Shark Tank lately. It’s really awesome. For those who aren’t in the loop, it’s a reality television show about budding entrepreneurs who are given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas in order to secure investment finance from a group of investors. Shark Tank airs on Channel Ten on Sundays, at 7:30PM.

While it’s extremely entertaining, Shark Tank also gives valuable insight in relation to the intellectual property process – after all, it is a program that’s built around the entrepreneur’s ideas to exploit a gap in the market – and that includes protecting both the idea (through a patent, if applicable) or the brand (through a trade mark).

In episode 3, a entrepreneur by the name of Anne Barclay approached the “sharks” for her business, “Simply Moreish Marinades”. While her product was undoubtedly delicious, the sharks discovered that not only had she failed to secure a trade mark over her product, but a competitor had already lodged a trade mark for “Moreish”, covering jams, sauces, and chutneys. Anne’s failure was because she had thought an Australian Business Name Registration was adequate protection for her branding.

I’ve written before on this subject – and unfortunately it’s simply not true. 

As Janine advised, “If you’re going into 25 stores, that person who’s got that trade mark can come and say, ‘you’re using my name’, and then they can actually sue you”.

Sound advice, which I also echo. Simply put – if you have a catchy brand name, you need protection over that brand name – and there is no better protection than a Trade Mark Registration.

Give us at Phang Legal a call if you need help or advice over your trade mark or your branding – I’ll be happy to help. Until then, I’ll be watching Shark Tank.