VIC Using the Same Trademark for a Different Type of Product?

Discussion in 'Intellectual Property Law Forum' started by Asha, 15 January 2018.

  1. Asha

    Asha Member

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    Hi there,

    I require opinions on the implications of registering a business name that is the same as an existing trademarked business name.

    I decided on the brand name BeFresh for a oral hygiene line (mouth wash etc.). I recently found the name BeFresh has been a trademark of a line of female sanitary items (Trade Mark 1616001 | IP Australia | Trade Mark Search).

    Can you please clarify if I would be breaking the law by using this brand name if the products are different (i.e. not both female sanitary items)?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  2. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    Whether you are or are not may not be the point. If you market your product under that name, you’re likely to be on the end of a lawsuit from what appears to be a well resourced public company. Unless you’re prepared for the the time, effort and money to fight that, you might want to think about how invested you are in the name.
     
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  3. Asha

    Asha Member

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    Thanks Rob! I appreciate your help. I am not invested in the name, I just wasn't sure if it was an issue if the products were not easily confused. For example, there is also a Be Fresh cafe. What does the law state about people using the same name for different products?
     
    #3 Asha, 16 January 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: 16 January 2018
  4. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    Whether or not the products are easily confused may not be the issue. It could come down to whether consumers may confuse your brand for the other one, thereby thinking the other Be Fresh makes your product. While different classes, and therefore a technical difference, this consideration isn't in the mind of the public.

    You would probably not reasonably connect Be Fresh sanitary items and Be Fresh cafe; but you might connect Be Fresh sanitary items and Be Fresh mouthwash if they're in the same aisle in the supermarket. There are other considerations to be made, but this serves as a very basic example.

    Any action would likely fall under what's called 'passing off', which is a common law action based in what is called torts. There's no act that sets out the rules, it's all caselaw precedent - which makes it rather complicated. Basically, the owner of BeFresh would need to prove that your actions have damaged their goodwill due to the public being confused between the two brands. Don't let this make you think they won't chase you, however.
     
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  5. Asha

    Asha Member

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    Thanks Rob! I really appreciate your help - clear and very helpful!
     
  6. Leonard Mancini

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    You could be infringing the TM as notwithstanding your mouth wash is not a sanitary pad or come within the range of goods specified.

    S120(2) provides that if they are similar goods, they can infringe if there is a likelihood of confusion.

    I think that they could well be “similar goods” and if they are sold alongside each other, could give rise to confusion.

    Plus there is potential passing off issues.


     
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