Back in July we applied to IP Australia to register 'Shoes of Prey' as a trademark in Australia under two classes covering shoes and shoe making. On Wednesday I arrived home from China to a 2 week old letter from IP Australia saying that there is another trademark 'Prey' in the shoes/clothing class and that we can't register 'Shoes of Prey' as the names are too similar. Ouch.
I immediately spoke to Jodie and Mike and we decided to contact the 'Prey' trademark owners to see if they would either be willing to sell it or consent to us registering 'Shoes of Prey'. Understandably it doesn't look like either of those options are going to pan out so it looks like we're back to square one with coming up with a new brand name.
We'd planned to launch next week so this is less than ideal, however it's lucky we found this out prior to launch as changing names, while time consuming, won't be too costly for us.
We've learnt some good lessons from this:
1. Do your trademark searches properly, and if there's anything similar to the mark you want to register look into it in detail. I am kicking myself for not doing this properly.
2. If you have the money (we don't) a trademark lawyer would be very useful to help out with this.
3. It would be nice if IP Australia didn't take 2 months to assess a trademark registration and that they had an option for emailing the results rather than posting them.
We want to come up with a great new brand name and we want to do it fast so we can launch, so we're going to put together some info and a competition to help us come up with a new brand name. More on that shortly :)