Reading time: 4 minutes

If you own a sports or social club, you should think about trade marking the key elements of your brand. Many businesses trade mark important intellectual property (IP) such as mascots or logos. This article will explain how trade marks work and why you should consider using them for your sports or social club.

What Are Trade Marks?

A trade mark allows you to both identify and distinguish your goods and services from competitors. Many different types of IP may be successfully trade marked. A trade mark might be a distinctive:

  • name;
  • word;
  • logo;
  • symbol;
  • slogan; or
  • device.

For example, McDonald’s has trademarks for its name (McDonald’s), slogan (“I’m Lovin’ It”) and logo (the famous golden arches).

Why Do They Matter?

Registering a trade mark can help your business in several ways. Trade marks can give your club:

  • the exclusive right to use that mark in relation to your goods or services;
  • legal protection if another business attempts to copy or benefit from your brand; and
  • a valuable asset to license if you hope to one day expand or franchise your business.

If you do not trade mark your club’s branding, there is nothing to stop another club or business from adopting similar branding.

For example, if you have a famous mascot, another club could create a similar mascot to promote their club. If this club then decides to trade mark their mascot, they could potentially stop you from using your mascot, even though you came up with the idea first.

How Do Sports Clubs Use Trade Marks?

Pride in your club’s culture is probably very important to you and your fans. Branding is central to achieving a strong sense of identity in your club’s community. If your local sports club becomes more successful and begins to compete in national or international competitions, you will need more than local recognition to distinguish your brand. As your club’s brand grows, so too does the need to protect it.

Sports clubs may have a wide range of IP to protect. Your fans and competitors probably associate many different aspects of your brand with your club. These recognisable aspects might include:

  • uniforms;
  • jerseys;
  • colours;
  • mascots; and
  • nicknames.
For example, the Queensland state of origin team in rugby league is famously nicknamed ‘the Maroons’. Even though the Maroons is not their official team name, ‘QLD Maroons’ is registered as a trade mark to protect this distinctive element of their brand.

Other famous sports clubs that have registered trade marks include the:

  • Chicago Bulls;
  • Wallabies; and
  • New York Yankees.

Many local sports clubs in Australia, such as the Marconi Stallions in Sydney’s south-west, also have registered trade marks for their names and logos.

Regardless of whether your sports club is local or global, you should take the time to consider your club’s popularity, brand exposure and merchandise. You may need to protect these assets with trade marks.

How Do Social Clubs Use Trade Marks?

Social clubs are an important feature of the Australian community. Well-known examples of social clubs include:

  • bowling clubs;
  • RSL clubs;
  • golf clubs; and
  • religious clubs.

Given the popularity and number of social clubs in Australia, having a recognisable brand is key to making your club stand out and growing a dedicated community.

If you own  social club, you should consider how your reputation, tradition, code and image can help you to:

  • attract new members;
  • build loyalty; and
  • build a brand.

Protecting your brand ensures that your club is distinguishable from its competitors and remains able to offer members unique goods and services.

Key Takeaways

Trade marks allow you to distinguish and protect your brand. As the owner of a sports or social club, your brand may consist of:

  • images;
  • names;
  • logos;
  • uniforms;
  • mascots; or
  • nicknames.

Without a trade mark, your club will not have exclusive rights to these aspects of your brand. This can weaken your brand and allow competitors to steal your IP.

If you have any questions about trade marks, contact LegalVision’s intellectual property lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Webinars

Legal 101 for SaaS Companies

Thursday 22 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Understand the contracts you need for your SaaS business with our free SaaS legal essentials webinar.
Register Now

Construction Contract Essentials

Thursday 12 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Understand how construction contracts are drafted and how to protect your construction business.
Register Now

Startup 101: Understanding Cap Tables and ESOPs

Thursday 19 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Cap tables and employee share option plans are essential for fast-growing startups. Learn more with this free webinar.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. From just $119 per week, get all your contracts sorted, trade marks registered and questions answered by experienced business lawyers.

Learn more about LVConnect

Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation – Finalist – Australasian Law Awards 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice – Winner – Australasian Lawyer 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer