Les Mills’ BODY PUMP, BODY COMBAT, and CXWORX, CrossFit and Zumba are popular fitness work-outs and classes recognised by anybody who has set foot in a gym in the last 10-20 years. However, what most people do not realise is that these words are registered trademarks, and the commercial success of these brands are partially due to their owners’ aggressive intellectual property licensing and enforcement strategy.
If you are a personal trainer, a group exercise instructor or a gym owner, you should think about your intellectual property and how to monetise it early on. Of course, it all starts with obtaining a trademark registration.
Application: How to Register Your Trademark
There are two steps involved in applying for a trademark. The first step is lodging an application with IP Australia. Your application should include a representation of your trademark. IP Australia usually recommends applying for two trademarks if you have a logo. The first is an application for just the essential word element/s in your trademark. The second application is for how you are presenting your trademark in the marketplace, a logo or together with a slogan or a device (a graphic element).
When applying for a trademark, you will be required to specify which goods or services your trademark will be used for. In specifying your goods and services, you will need to categorise them into pre-determined classes called the Nice Classification. The most common classification businesses in the fitness industry use are:
- Class 5 for goods such as dietary supplements
- Class 9 for fitness videos or recordings as well as software and gadgets used in fitness
- Class 28 for gymnastic and sporting articles including exercise machines and apparatus
- Class 41 for the provision of fitness training, fitness instruction and sporting activities
- Class 44 for the provision of medical services including physiotherapy and fitness testing
Your application will then go through an examination process at the trademarks office. During this stage, your application will be assessed based on the legal requirements stated in the Trade Marks Act 1995. If you have chosen a trademark that immediately satisfies the requirements for registration, the earliest time you can obtain your registration is 7.5 months. However, if you have selected a trademark that is difficult to register, the time it takes to overcome the objection may exceed more than two years. This is why it is important to speak with a trademark lawyer before investing and applying for a trademark.
If the trademark passes the examination stage, its status will be changed from “Pending” to “Accepted”. It will then be advertised for opposition for two months. Most trademarks are not opposed. If during this period, the trademark is unopposed, you will be notified that your trademark registration fee is due. You will receive your certificate of registration shortly after you pay your registration fee.
Monitoring and Enforcement
Getting your trademark registered is only the first step. Following registration, you should monitor the market and keep a vigilant eye on possible infringement of your trademark rights or copy cat brands. This is particularly important to do online where most consumers do their research on service providers. Lastly, if you feel that someone is infringing rights, you must immediately seek advice on your options and how to enforce your trademark rights. Questions? Get in touch.