Comparative advertising – the risks

Comparative advertising is a form of advertising where a supplier compares its product favourably against the product of a competitor.  It is not that common as it can be risky because: The comparison has to be absolutely accurate – many examples of comparative advertising that come to Court fail to do this; and Your competitor […]

Are initial letters a good trade mark?

It is quite common today for businesses to abbreviate their name to its initial letters.  The Trade Marks Office is willing to register combinations of three or more letters, provided that they are not a well known acronym for the goods or services to be protected by the trade mark application. However, from a trade […]

Searches a must before using a new trade mark

What you need to do In the excitement of starting a new business, or launching a new product, you may overlook one important step – carrying out searches to see whether there are any similar trade marks out there in the same field that may prevent you using your chosen mark. Searches can be carried […]

$3 million penalty for Google ad campaign

In 2021 the Federal Court found that Employsure, in its Google ads, misrepresented that it had associations with various Government agencies.  I reported on this case here. The Trial Judge imposed a fine of $1 million for these breaches of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).  The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) appealed this penalty […]

I own my business/domain/social media name – don’t I?

It depends on what you mean by “own” – but if you mean that you have exclusive rights to the name and can prevent competitors from using it – no, not really.  A trade mark registration is the only way to own a name in this sense.   Trade marks vs business and other names A […]

Use unlicensed software at your peril

Nowadays a business could not operate without software – accounting, CRM, project management, communications software etc.  But what happens if the business is to be sold to another entity?  Normally a business uses software under a copyright licence.  It does not own the software outright. If a new entity is to take over the business, […]

The problem for users of Google’s dynamic keyword insertion

Is it a good idea to use someone else’s name as a Google keyword and Google headline? The Full Court of the Federal Court has recently said “no”.  Google keywords on a website are not visible but they are used to attract consumers to the site when that keyword is typed into the Google search […]

Using a company’s logo to criticise the company

AGL v GreenpeaceAGL, an Australian energy company, used the logo: AGL claimed ownership of the copyright in this logo as well as having registered the logo as a trade mark. Copyright works can include artistic works, such as a logo, and literary works, including business documents. Greenpeace has a long history of environmental activism. It […]

Fearless Girl meets Australian Intellectual Property Law

Fearless Girl is the name of a bronze statue of a strong and confident girl created by Kristen Visbal and installed in New York City in 2017.  The statue was funded by financial company State Street US and its unveiling was timed to coincide with a marketing campaign by State Street US that sought to […]