Brand Protection, Business Tips, Intellectual Property, News Alerts, On the Blog, Trade Marks

Ethikate Named Finalist in Victorian Legal Awards

Ethikate is proud to have been selected by the Law Institute of Victoria as a finalist for the 13th Victorian Legal Awards in the Law Firm of the Year Award – Boutique category!

The LIV awards program recognises law firms and individuals who advance the legal profession, contribute to the community, and demonstrate excellence in legal practice in Victoria. The winners were announced at a gala event on May 19, 2017.

The full list of finalists is available at the Law Institute of Victoria website.

Brand Protection, Intellectual Property, On the Blog, Trade Marks, Uncategorised

NEW – Trade Mark Monitoring Service

So, you have successfully registered a trade mark.

Great work!

However, as you probably know, an effective brand protection strategy goes well beyond the trade mark registration phase. That’s why Ethikate is excited to launch our trade mark monitoring service for new and existing clients.

As part of this service, Ethikate will search the Australian Trade Marks Search System (ATMOSS) on a monthly basis for any new trade marks that may appear to be deceptively similar or conflicting to your trade mark. If any results are found, our specialist lawyers will provide a report with options and advice on how to proceed.

The cost? A highly affordable $225 plus GST per quarter.

Sound good?

If we haven’t met yet, why not book your first meeting online? Ethikate offers your first Consult at a reduced fee.

If you are an existing client who is keen to take advantage of this offer, please contact us for a follow-up consultation.

We would love to hear from you!

Brand Protection, Business Law, Business Names, Business Tips, Company Law, Consumer Laws, Copyright, Defamation, Ethikately IP Newsletter, Events, Intellectual Property, Internet and ecommerce, News Alerts, Not for Profit, On the Blog, Partnership Law, Privacy, Social Media, Trade Marks, Uncategorised

Considering outsourcing? Read this first…

by Kate Ritchie, Principal Lawyer and Trade Marks Attorney at Ethikate

As every business owner will eventually discover, there comes a point when the number of tasks to be completed outweighs the time available to do so.

No matter how organised and motivated you are, it is an inescapable fact that you are restricted by the number of workable hours in a day.
Spending two hours a day answering emails or one day a week preparing invoices for customers, may not be the best use of your time. So what’s the answer? Well, perhaps it’s time to consider outsourcing some of your workload to other people.

Thanks to the internet and the rise in popularity of cloud-based workrooms and storage systems that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, almost any task can now be outsourced. There are plenty of highly experienced freelancers registered online at outsourcing platforms such as UpWork, who are willing to work for reasonable rates and take some of the more time-consuming jobs associated with business administration off your hands.

However, as with everything, there are both pros and cons, which must be considered before deciding which elements of your business are suitable for outsourcing.

Outsourcing vs. employing staff

Before you start planning an outsourcing strategy for your business, you should think carefully about what positions you need to fill, and what kinds of jobs are typically outsourced.

It is worth considering that generally, you will have more control over full-time employees than contractors and freelancers because they are committed primarily to you and your business. With freelancers, you could end up competing for their time with other clients.

The biggest issue with taking on employees is that they become a fixed cost to your business and you may not be able to fully utilise them on a full-time basis, whereas when you outsource you can manage your expenses in real time and adjust terms in line with your needs in a way you can’t with permanent employees.

If you are considering outsourcing for your business, you will also need to make sure your insurance covers it. Check your professional liability insurance policy to ensure that as well as employees, independent contractors are covered for any claims arising from business-related activities they perform on your behalf.

Here are some of the outsourcing pros and cons:

Pros

  • Reduced costs foreign labour can be cheaper than domestic labour, pay for hours worked, rather than a permanent employee contract
  • Globalise your business – working with freelancers based in different time zones will allow your business to operate outside of normal hours
  • International element: utilising freelancers from different countries or those with language skills can provide you with a greater reach and understanding for your business activities overseas
  • Access better technology and specialised expertise – no need to send employees to expensive training courses or purchase the latest software, when you can outsource specific jobs to experienced small companies and individuals

Cons

  • An employer/employee relationship where trust and loyalty is nurtured can be harder to achieve
  • When working with freelancers whose first language may not be English, it is easy for messages to get lost in translation. Also, there may be cultural differences you need take into consideration.
  • When it comes to technology and working online, sharing information with non-employees can pose security risks, so you should ensure you are fully covered legally with NDAs etc.

Outsourcing definitely has some advantages. However, you need to carefully consider all pros and cons before deciding if it is the right fit for your business.

About the Author:  Kate Ritchie is a strategically focused Principal Lawyer and Trade Marks Attorney with both commercial and business services and legal experience. Kate has broad ranging competency in all aspects of legal services including intellectual property law, brand protection, commercial and business transactions, negotiation and alternative dispute resolution, internet law, privacy, competition and consumer law and sports law. Kate has worked with top-tier commercial law firms such as Clayton Utz and high profile companies such as Thiess Pty Ltd and Tatts Group. Kate founded Ethikate in 2014 with a passion for providing specialist advice and services in Intellectual Property Law, Trade Marks and Brand Protection Strategies, business and commercial law and entertainment and media law for startups, entrepreneurs and small to medium businesses.

Brand Protection, Business Law, Business Names, Business Tips, Company Law, Consumer Laws, Copyright, Defamation, Ethikately IP Newsletter, Events, Intellectual Property, Internet and ecommerce, News Alerts, Not for Profit, On the Blog, Partnership Law, Privacy, Social Media, Trade Marks, Uncategorised

Ethikate on Sky News Business

Ethikate’s Principal Lawyer & Trade Marks Attorney Kate Ritchie was recently featured on Sky News Business.

Kate’s interview with Chloe James covered business success, the legal sector, “disruption for disruption’s sake”, startups and small businesses.

Check out the full interview below.

 

Brand Protection, Business Names, Intellectual Property, Uncategorised

Are You Making These Startup Trade Mark Mistakes?

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By Kate Ritchie, Principal Lawyer and Trade Marks Attorney at Ethikate

Starting and managing a small business is no easy task.

Getting the business basics right, including legal and brand protection advice, is essential and there is so much to think about. From choosing a brand name, to registration, to obtaining a trade mark, there is a lot to consider.
The process seems simple. However, without the right expertise, it can be easy to miss things and make mistakes.
If you are a small business owner or a recently launched startup, ensure you get the right advice from the start to avoid making one of these five avoidable errors.

1: Choosing a generic brand name

 Many business owners believe a brand name has to be descriptive to their  product, service or location. They therefore select a generic brand or business name, such as ‘Melbourne Butcher’. Instead of focusing on something that describes what your business does, choose a name that is full of personality – save the descriptive and locational statements for the tagline. A distinctive brand name will distinguish your business in the marketplace and it is beneficial from a trade mark perspective, making it easier for you to enforce your rights if another business begins using a similar name.

2: Failing to conduct a thorough brand clearance

 Before you launch your brand ensure you have conducted a thorough brand clearance. Many startup founders fail to do this correctly and it can be a costly error. Even with an entirely original innovation, enlist the help of a legal professional to conduct availability clearances for every country in which you intend to launch your brand.
This will help you to determine if there are any pre-existing trade mark registrations for a similar brand/product and mitigate risks from the outset.

3: Believing registering a business name is all that is required  

 Registering a business name or domain name does not allow you any exclusivity; it is simply the name you trade under. Before you begin creating any corporate collateral, conduct a thorough brand clearance and secure a trade mark. Without this, you have no right of ownership and may be at risk of trade mark infringement.

4: Only trade marking a logo 

 If only the logo is registered, only the logo is protected. If the logo is comprised of both words and images, the words or the images alone are not covered by the trade mark. When applying for a trade mark, all of the brand elements must be individually registered. Begin by securing the trade mark for the words followed by the images. This provides you the flexibility to use the words and images either individually or in conjunction with each other in all of your business collateral.

5: Assuming trade mark applications are easy

Only one in four trade mark applications is approved by IP Australia, and a failed application is an expense no business wants to incur. When applying for a trade mark, you need to ensure that you are covered for a broad range of services that align with your current operations and your future business aspirations. Trade mark applications are complex, so obtaining advice from a qualified trade mark attorney is important to ensure that your brand is protected now and into the future.

Ethikate offers a range of affordable packages specifically designed for startup founders and small businesses, including our $199 Initial Consult package. If you have any questions about small business law, including Intellectual Property, Trade Marks and Brand Protection, feel free to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

About the Author:  Kate Ritchie is a strategically focused Principal Lawyer and Trade Marks Attorney with both commercial and business services and legal experience. Kate has broad ranging competency in all aspects of legal services including intellectual property law, brand protection, commercial and business transactions, negotiation and alternative dispute resolution, internet law, privacy, competition and consumer law and sports law. Kate has worked with top-tier commercial law firms such as Clayton Utz and high profile companies such as Thiess Pty Ltd and Tatts Group. Kate founded Ethikate in 2014 with a passion for providing specialist advice and services in Intellectual Property Law, Trade Marks and Brand Protection Strategies, business and commercial law and entertainment and media law for startups, entrepreneurs and small to medium businesses.

 

Brand Protection, Business Tips, Copyright, Intellectual Property, Trade Marks, Uncategorised

Safeguarding Your Intellectual Property in China

China

By Kate Ritchie, Ethikate Principal Lawyer and Trade Marks Attorney

 

China. It’s one of the largest markets in the world and Australia’s primary trading partner, two attributes that make it extremely attractive to many Australian businesses looking to get their products to market affordably.

With its many benefits as a manufacturing capital, China is notoriously one of the world’s infringement capitals, which is why it is crucial that business owners expanding there understand how to protect their Intellectual Property.

With its many benefits as a manufacturing capital, China is notoriously one of the world’s infringement capitals, which is why it is crucial that business owners expanding there understand how to protect their Intellectual Property.

I have just returned from China after visiting with a client and the trip reminded me of some of the key differences when it comes to IP protection between that country and Australia.

Most important are the differences in trade marking. Unlike Australia, China is a ‘first to register’ not a ‘first to use’ state. This means that even if you are the first to use a brand in China, unless it has been registered via the lodgement of a China trademark application, it is not protected.  Therefore, anyone who is aware of your brand prior to its registration can obtain a trade mark and prevent you from using your product in China. This has caused headaches for well-known brands, including Tiffany & Co and Tesla.

Patent and design applications do not differ as significantly and the process is more comparable to Australia. In China, business owners have two patent options.

The first is an innovation patent that is equivalent to Australia’s standard patent and carries a term of 20 years. The second option is a utility or ‘mini’ patent, which carries a shorter term of 10 years. China’s utility patent option is somewhat comparable to Australia’s design registration system. It simply requires you to apply to register your design in China before you launch the product and the registration is valid for 10 years, the same as Australia.

Given counterfeit goods and cheap knock off products are commonplace, China is notorious for IP breaches and can be an extremely difficult country to do business in.

So before expanding your business into China there are some key steps you must take to protect your brand and your business:

 

  • Have potential business partners and manufacturers sign a confidentiality deed or non-disclosure agreement before entering into any discussions. Preferably have all documentation in both English and Mandarin or Cantonese.
  • Apply to register your trade marks, designs and patents in China as soon as possible and give consideration to registering the trade mark in both English and Mandarin or Cantonese.
  • Enforce your rights. Monitor the market and don’t be afraid to take action against infringers as it’s essential to maintaining the reputation and value of your brand. We work with reputable attorneys in China and can assist with this often daunting process.
  • Understand the manufacturing process in China. Verify the manufacturing company you are going to be working with and don’t settle for not having a proper manufacturing agreement in place. This agreement should also be in English and Mandarin or Cantonese, depending on the province in which your manufacturer is based.

Ethikate offers a range of affordable packages specifically designed for startup founders and small businesses, including our $199 Initial Consult. If you have any questions about small business law, including Intellectual Property, Trade Marks and Brand Protection, feel free to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

Brand Protection, Business Tips, Trade Marks, Uncategorised

Get in the know – check out our new FAQs!

16883291_sYou want to have as much information as possible before you speak to a professional. Or maybe you feel totally unsure and want to know a little bit more about brand protection and the trade mark registration process.

We get it. Knowledge is power and we are all about empowering our entrepreneurial clients. So to help you out, we’ve put together a list of the most commonly asked questions about brand protection and trade marks.

So, what are you waiting? Get Ethicated with our FAQs here.

Brand Protection, Business Tips, Intellectual Property, On the Blog

Ethikate’s Top 10 Tips for Starting a New Business

Starting a new business is both exciting and overwhelming. We often like to race ahead and do all the fun bits and forget ignore the boring stuff.

Unfortunately the ‘boring stuff’ is the most important to get right from the start. So, to keep it light but give you some food for thought, here’s my Top 10 Tips to consider when starting up a small business.

 

Ethikate Business Tips

1.Do your planning, research and due diligence before you even think about starting up – start with the business model canvas.

2.Get advice on the right business structure and financial advice – to minimise tax and personal liability.

3.Develop a brand & IP protection strategy during start-up phase…and before you spend $ on your marketing and merchandise.

4.Implement your brand protection & IP strategy – you’ve worked hard to create it so make sure you protect it.

5.Make sure you own your intellectual property or have the freedom to operate – get a Brand & IP Health Check!

6.Implement policies and procedures relevant to your business – online and offline.

7.Get tailored website terms of use and upload them onto your website – don’t copy and paste from another website, it might be wrong!

8.Put in place some standard terms of supply – again, don’t copy and paste, you can’t get the law half right. Do it right, do it once.

9.Invest in the right advice – who are your board of advisors?

10.HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you a start-up or a business owner ready to get serious about your business? Professional legal advice done right is one of the best investments you can make when starting up (I know, I’m biased but I truly believe it and have seen it for myself). Then do it right, do it once with us!

Contact us today for a no obligation initial consultation or learn more by checking out our News, Tips & Blog page.