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Forget the wardrobe malfunction, watch out for the “trade mark technicality”
Australian fashion house Viktoria+Woods has opted to rename it’s popular “Hendrix” leather jacket due to a “trade mark technicality”.
The change was announced on the brand’s Facebook page on 19 December. The new name for “The Hendrix” is, somewhat aptly, “The Phoenix”.
“Due to a trademark technicality, we have re-named our jacket the PHOENIX!” a Viktoria + Woods representative posted. We personally LOVE the new name and [are] proud of its international recognition.”
We can’t be sure precisely what the trade mark technicality was that caused the company to rebrand its jacket. The most likely reason is that someone else with a registered trade mark for Hendrix (or something similar) has asserted its exclusive rights against Viktoria+Wood or that the fashion house itself discovered the potential conflict and sought to head it off.
And the potential was certainly there, given there are two Australian trade mark registrations for JIMI HENDRIX covering clothing in class 25.
While Viktoria+Woods appears to have remained relatively upbeat about the rebranding of its jacket, potential trade mark infringements can be challenging – and costly – for some businesses. Aside from the risk of damages, there is also the cost of rebranding and the “thrown away” costs of branded material (e.g. brochures, stationery, etc) that can no longer be used.
It’s a timely reminder of the importance of new brands taking an exhaustive approach to trade mark searches at the earliest possible stage of brand development. Whether you are launching a brand new venture or a new product, it is important to ensure that you are not infringing on another person’s intellectual property rights.
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