McDonald’s is once again demonstrating that it will protect it’s famous brand and reputation. Using Trademark Registrations to back their position, this demonstrates that businesses ought to seek the advice of a professional before using (or adjusting) a brand.
Many businesses think that a Trademark has to be the same to be a problem. Trademarks can share the beginning, end or certain words, and still be “caught” by the provisions in the Trademark Act 1995.
Whilst it was meant to be an innocent “play” on the iconic Big Mac burger, the Trademark system does cover the trademark owner for any damage to the reputation of their trademark.
Particularly for small businesses, but also for large enterprises, it isn’t worth the expensive litigation or legal bills to take a risk. Particularly during the Covid pandemic and crisis, where cash flow may be tight.
And this isn’t the only position that McDonald’s is enforcing. They are also suing Hungry Jack’s for breach of their trademark through use of the “Big Jack” burger. McDonald’s is seeking cancellation of Hungry Jack’s registered trademark through Court order.
So, what many of you may not know or understand is, that if you have registered a trademark, this can all be unwound (or cancelled) if the right basis for owning the trademark wasn’t there. It may come as a surprise to you thinking that if you have an accepted (or Registered) trademark, that you are not touchable.
Thinking that you own a trademark registration issued by IP Australia places you in a safe position couldn’t be far from the truth as not all considerations are looked at by IP Australia during their assessment. There are far wider and reaching legal requirements which are assessed by the Courts, impacting Registrations all the time.
The above does not constitute legal advice. Advice from your professional advisor should always be sought before trading with a brand or trademark.
Play it safe, don’t risk legal trouble later. Contact our Trademark Attorneys or Trademark Lawyers today.