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

Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Online
Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

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

Online
As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Sahil Verma
Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards