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ARE YOU IN BREACH OF A TRADEMARK?

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In recent years there has been a big demand for scented candles, which has seen large manufacturers in competition with small business and home-based crafters.

A saturated market has created a very competitive market, and those wishing to buy candles to sell now have a wide range of choice when it comes to the brands they want to purchase.

Small business and home-based crafters are taking a piece of the candle pie!

trademarkimagesSmall business is now partnering with retailers to secure wholesale and custom brand deals; they are selling in-store and online.

Home-based crafters sell to family, friends and work colleagues, through social media sites, at local craft shows, flea markets and fundraisers.

Many customers prefer to buy from small business or home-based crafters due to the quality, uniqueness and the ability of the candle maker to customise their orders. These candle makers take great pride in their products, and it shows - and the large manufacturers are well aware of this!

One of hazards small business and home-based crafters can fall foul of, is breaching trademark. While trademarks are nothing new, it is becoming increasingly common for these large manufacturers to trademark their brand [company name, products and slogans]. They are also issuing 'cease' letters, threatening to take legal action if a brand they have a trademark on, is being used without their permission.

Often small business and home-based crafters do not understand what a trademark is, or that they are in breach of a trademark.   

Coca Cola Slogan 1965 1

Let's clarify what a trademark is ...

A trademark is a way of identifying a unique product or service.

Sometimes referred to as a brand, it can help your customers discern the quality of your product or service over that of your competitors.

A trademark is not just ‘a logo’.It can be a letter, number, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, movement, an aspect of packaging, or a combination of these.  

If we use Cola-Cola as an example, "Cola-Cola" is the company brand name, "Coke Zero" is a company brand product, and "Things go better with Coke" is a company brand slogan.

Having a trademark protects the original creator of the brand and stops it being copied or imitated too closely. You cannot register a trademark brand if by doing so you would be duplicating someone else's brand.  

Let's zero in on candle brand product names 

midsummersnightcandleWhen a company thinks up an original candle fragrance name and trademarks it, it means no one else can use it. Yankee Candle's "Mid Summer's Night" is a trademarked name. It is not the scent that is protected, but the name. To protect the scent formula, you would need to register a chemical patent.

This trademarking is Fair Practice.

 We trademarked our company name, Chandelle Galerie and our luxury range of candles when we were operating our business to ensure our competitors could not copy our brand.

CHANDELLE GALERIE SHOP

The cost to work with developers to establish a brand name that resonates for a business involves time, cost and personal effort, and usually forms part of a wider marketing strategy.  

Sadly, large manufacturers are being granted trademarks on common scent names, such as "Salted Carmel" and "French Vanilla" which are typical food scents. They are also trademarking common candle-making names, such as "Cake Candle. A Cake Candle is a pillar candle topped with whipped wax, and it has been known as this since candle makers starting making them in the early 1970s.

The large manufacturers can afford to trademark their brands as it costs a little under $300 per individual registration in Australia, whereas small business and home-based crafters often cannot afford to do this.

By taking these steps, large manufacturers are attempting to corner the market on favourite candle scents, and keep the more modest, but ever increasing smaller competitors, from taking a piece of that candle pie! 

How does this affect you?

If you buy a candle fragrance oil from the original creator [manufacturer] and want to call your candle by that name: 

You cannot use the name if the original creator [manufacturer] has registered a trademark on the fragrance oil name OR another candle company has registered a trademark for its title for one of its candle products. 

You can use the name if it not trademarked!

Find out what trademarks are in more detail, what’s involved in the application and management process, and how to search an existing trademark to protect yourself legally Click Here

 

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Tuesday, 28 June 2022

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