Over the past five years, demand for fashion jewellery has boomed, influenced by seasonal fashion and consumer trends and online shopping. Online stores such as Etsy and Boohoo have highlighted the great success of online trading and how easy it is for a fashion designer to showcase and sell their jewellery. If you are a fashion jewellery designer, it is important that you consider how you are going to protect the intellectual property/trademarks of your business and the jewellery you design. Intellectual property may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your fashion jewellery design business. However, it is often the intellectual property of your business that can be the most vulnerable and most valuable property your business owns.
Intellectual Property for Fashion Jewellery
Intellectual property is a broad term that encompasses different forms of protection rights. You should know that when you hear the term intellectual property mentioned, it could denote either trademark, patent or copyright law to name but a few areas. As the owner of a fashion jewellery design business, you are not expected to know the ins and outs of each area of law, for some of them will have no relevance to your business. However, one area you will be required to have knowledge of is that of trademarks, as the trademark of our fashion jewellery design business could well be its most valuable asset.
Trademarking Fashion Jewellery
Unique jewellery with originality in design sets businesses in this industry apart. A trademark is could be any mark you use a product that distinguishes your fashion jewellery design business from others. Therefore, it is the trademark of your business that allows customers to know a product is from your business. A trademark can be a mark in the form of letters, words, diagrams, colours or smells, so long as they distinguish your business from that of another to your customers.
Without a distinct and individual trademark, it would be impossible to distinguish your work or products from that of your competition, which means that they could potentially claim it for their own, and no one would be any the wiser. Also, it could be possible for another business to copy your trademark outright, to gain a competitive advantage by attracting customers seeking your quality of work.
Protecting your Fashion Jewellery with Trademarks
Many owners of fashion jewellery design businesses, and indeed all businesses, are under the false assumption that trademarks are automatically protected by law, however, unfortunately, this is not the case. To protect the trademark of your business, you will be required to get it registered with IP Australia. Effectively this will entail submitting your trademark to IP Australia for a fee, then having it reviewed to ensure it bears no similarities to previously registered trademarks, then finally having it place on the register. However, the process is rarely this simple, as you will often be required to have proof of use of your trademark, or required to submit further documents to define clearly the form of your trademark. Also, it is possible for another business to challenge the registration of your trademark if they feel it too closely resembles theirs.
Consumers are expected to look increasingly for higher quality pieces that differ from mass-produced jewellery items. Consequently, fashion jewellery designers are likely to respond through unique designs. A trademark can be one of the most important assets for your business. If you need assistance with setting up your jewellery business, or help with registering a trademark, our business lawyers can assist.