Pop star Katy Perry has lost a trade mark battle with Australian fashion designer Katie Perry, which underscores the importance of the trade mark registration process to protect brands worldwide.
Late last week, a judge ruled the American singer-songwriter did indeed breach the fashion designer’s trade mark when she sold clothing for her 2014 concert tour of Australia.
Damages are yet to be decided but Katy Perry’s company will soon learn what compensation it must pay, and it could be costly.
Katie Taylor – whose clothing range is sold under her birth name Katie Perry – claimed the singer’s merchandise infringed a trade mark she owned and registered in Australia in 2008, after first launching her brand in 2007.
Katy Perry’s first musical hits were in 2008.
In the case, the singer attempted to have the Australian fashion label’s trade mark cancelled but Justice Brigitte Markovic dismissed the bid.
She described the legal fight as “a tale of two women, two teenage dreams and one name.”
A New Case: Moccona’s Glass Jar Battle
In another trade mark battle just underway, the parent company behind Moccona is taking on Australian independent coffee company, Vittoria.
Jacobs Douwe Egberts’ case claims Vittoria is ripping off Moccona’s iconic trade marked glass jar shape.
According to news reports, the Federal Court case claims Vittoria is engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct by selling coffee in a glass jar, and that customers who see the Vittoria glass jar might mistake it for a Moccona product.
It’s believed Vittoria will argue the trade mark for the Moccona jar is invalid and should be cancelled.
It’s understood the matter will be heard in 2024.
So, Just What Is a Trade Mark?
A trade mark does not just apply to business names; it applies to any “mark” that is distinctive to your business that differentiates you from other traders in your industry.
This can include a letter, logo, image, number, word, phrase, scent, sound, shape, movement or aspect of packaging – or a combination of these – all of these can be trade marked.
Generally, the more unique your trade mark is, the easier it will be to register it. Once your trade mark is registered, you can begin using the ® symbol.
In Australia, when a trade mark application is approved, it gives your brand the exclusive use of that trade mark throughout the country for 10 years – and your trade mark registration can be renewed every 10 years as needed.
It’s important to note that trade marks need to be individually registered in each country your business wants to trade in. This includes if you intend to offer your products online internationally.
Want to know more? Read our trade mark blog here.
Trade Mark: What’s in a Name?
As this case highlights, when it comes to business, everything is in a name!
So, if you’ve been putting off protecting your brand with a trade mark registration, don’t.
The Katy Perry V Katie Perry legal battle clearly shows that failing to safeguard your brand can create headaches for even the biggest companies and stars.
In the trade mark space, first in is indeed best dressed (as Katie Perry has just proven)!
If you need support with a trade mark application, please get in touch with the Quest Legal team; we know how to ensure your submission has the greatest chance of success.