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The widespread impact that COVID-19 (coronavirus) has had on the world is undeniable. As we attempt to navigate these unchartered waters, we have seen many lifelines thrown by all levels of the Australian government.

The $320 billion support package by the Morrison government which aims to keep Australians in jobs is the largest economic stimulus package the country has ever seen. Other initiatives by state and local governments have seen rent relief, free extension of licences as well as the waiving of fees and charges.

Despite the magnitude of available support, most businesses have still needed to adapt their business strategies to remain viable. Among many other changes, gyms and personal trainers are now offering online classes and previous dine-in restaurants have now shifted to provide takeaway services.

The changes in business strategies demonstrate that it is now more crucial than ever for businesses to secure their rights by evaluating their brand and ensuring they have an effective intellectual property (‘IP’) strategy in place.

Even businesses that are not changing their strategy need to ensure their goods and services are protected to prevent newcomers from moving into their existing markets. Conversely, businesses that are changing their strategy need to extend their existing trade mark protection to include the new goods and/or services they are offering.

IP Australia has implemented new initiatives to ensure the continuity of its operations. As postal services are being delayed due to coronavirus, IP Australia’s e-Services platform is updated regularly to ensure it’s available and is coping with an increase in digital activity.

In compliance with the current coronavirus restrictions, hearings are being carried out via written submissions, telephone calls and video conferences. In short, operationally for IP Australia it’s business as usual.

However, IP Australia recognises the impact COVID-19 is having on Australian businesses.  Accordingly, it is implementing measures to assist businesses with trade mark matters.

 ip protection tips:

  1. consider the scope of your existing trade mark protection

Businesses are quickly branching out to survive this pandemic – they’re otherwise offering their goods/services differently or offering entirely new goods/services. This branching out may not be included in their current registered trade mark portfolio. This could potentially amount to an infringement of another’s pre-existing trade mark rights.

  1. conduct a trade mark search

Before branching out goods/services, businesses should conduct an extensive search to ensure that others aren’t already providing similar goods/services under a similar registered trade mark.

  1. consider your options

Once businesses have established that they are able to branch out their business and not infringe a pre-existing trade mark, they should register a new trade mark to ensure they obtain protection for it in relation to the new goods/services.

  1. expedite examination

As business models rapidly adapt and change in the current environment, now is the time to ensure you secure additional rights by expediting the registration your trade marks.  Registration of your trade mark will provide you with certainty and an assurance that you can trade without fear of infringing a third party’s trade mark.

stay up to date with our news & insights

COVID-19 and IP

04 May 2020
mark metzeling deborah pac

The widespread impact that COVID-19 (coronavirus) has had on the world is undeniable. As we attempt to navigate these unchartered waters, we have seen many lifelines thrown by all levels of the Australian government.

The $320 billion support package by the Morrison government which aims to keep Australians in jobs is the largest economic stimulus package the country has ever seen. Other initiatives by state and local governments have seen rent relief, free extension of licences as well as the waiving of fees and charges.

Despite the magnitude of available support, most businesses have still needed to adapt their business strategies to remain viable. Among many other changes, gyms and personal trainers are now offering online classes and previous dine-in restaurants have now shifted to provide takeaway services.

The changes in business strategies demonstrate that it is now more crucial than ever for businesses to secure their rights by evaluating their brand and ensuring they have an effective intellectual property (‘IP’) strategy in place.

Even businesses that are not changing their strategy need to ensure their goods and services are protected to prevent newcomers from moving into their existing markets. Conversely, businesses that are changing their strategy need to extend their existing trade mark protection to include the new goods and/or services they are offering.

IP Australia has implemented new initiatives to ensure the continuity of its operations. As postal services are being delayed due to coronavirus, IP Australia’s e-Services platform is updated regularly to ensure it’s available and is coping with an increase in digital activity.

In compliance with the current coronavirus restrictions, hearings are being carried out via written submissions, telephone calls and video conferences. In short, operationally for IP Australia it’s business as usual.

However, IP Australia recognises the impact COVID-19 is having on Australian businesses.  Accordingly, it is implementing measures to assist businesses with trade mark matters.

 ip protection tips:

  1. consider the scope of your existing trade mark protection

Businesses are quickly branching out to survive this pandemic – they’re otherwise offering their goods/services differently or offering entirely new goods/services. This branching out may not be included in their current registered trade mark portfolio. This could potentially amount to an infringement of another’s pre-existing trade mark rights.

  1. conduct a trade mark search

Before branching out goods/services, businesses should conduct an extensive search to ensure that others aren’t already providing similar goods/services under a similar registered trade mark.

  1. consider your options

Once businesses have established that they are able to branch out their business and not infringe a pre-existing trade mark, they should register a new trade mark to ensure they obtain protection for it in relation to the new goods/services.

  1. expedite examination

As business models rapidly adapt and change in the current environment, now is the time to ensure you secure additional rights by expediting the registration your trade marks.  Registration of your trade mark will provide you with certainty and an assurance that you can trade without fear of infringing a third party’s trade mark.