“Hey that’s my bikini”- Lara Bingle in hot water with an alleged IP infringement.
Recently, a range of swimsuits from Australian brand Cotton On Body and endorsed by Lara Bingle, have been under threat from an American designer, Fernandez. Fernandez who claimed that Cotton On Body’s design and material of a specific swimsuit was similar to one of its unique designs. Cotton On Body’s swimsuit was also significantly cheaper than the Fernandez swimsuit.
However, the problem is what Fernandez can do about it.
Typically there would be little recourse available in this instance, since there was no infringement on a patent or trademark, and the design for the swimsuit was not registered. One avenue that remains open would be an action for passing off, where Fernandez would need to clearly show that Cotton On Body intended to pass off its swimsuit as that of Fernandez.
Intellectual Property (IP) rights are one of the fundamental aspects of a business. The protection of your IP rights ensures a successful brand and product image, as well as increasing the value of your business. In this case, if Fernandez has registered her design, she may have an action for passing off.
IP rights protect patents, trademarks and designs that relate to a product or service. By registering IP, those rights become protected and must only be used with the owner’s permission.
Where there is a sale of products or the provision of services and there may be underlying IP rights, it is strongly recommended to register these as a matter of priority. It has been argued that registering the IP is more important than establishing a structure for holding the IP, as without registering the property, there will be nothing to protect.
Warlows Legal can take care of all your registration needs. Please contact Harriet Warlow-Shill on (03) 8554 3800 to avoid your IP creation being the next item in someone else’s collection.