Protecting Your Food Truck From Copycats
You have decided to establish your own food truck company. You have your original concept a food truck, a website, and a social media presence. Then, it occurs to you that you have done nothing to safeguard your company’s intellectual property rights. This article covers the measures you should take to safeguard your food truck intellectual property rights from copycats, while also ensuring that you are not infringing on the rights of others.
Is There a Case of Copyright Infringement?
Copyrighting your food truck menu items services is, of course, beneficial. Copyright is an intellectual property right that grants its owner the exclusive right to create copies of a creative work for a certain period of time.
This may take the shape of:
- education; or
Some unique menu items will be able to be subject to copyright. For example, suppose you invent a novel chicken wing name like ‘radioactive wings’, with a photo of a chicken in a radiation suit to the side of the words. If a rival copies one of your copyrighted goods or systems, you have the legal right to sue and demand that they cease exploiting your intellectual property.
However, from a commercial standpoint, this may be difficult. To begin with, you may not have the financial means to engage a lawyer to defend you in court. Even if you do, the court procedures consume a significant amount of money and time, and your business suffers as a result.
Furthermore, if many food trucks plagiarise your work, suing each of them may be time-consuming. A better option is to deal with them outside of the courtroom. You can do this by obtaining a trade mark to defend your products and services.
Trade Mark Your Business Name or Logo
A trade mark is a term, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates the origin of one party’s goods from those of another. Trade marks protect your intellectual property from use by other people or businesses without your authority. Trade mark protection is not granted to words that are generic. Hence, they cannot simply indicate the name of a product, like “chicken wings”. As a result, there are numerous legal considerations to examine while choosing a name and logo for your food truck.
To prevent potential trade mark infringement, you must first conduct research to ensure that the name or logo you choose is not similar to another food truck’s trade mark. It will also help ensure that you are not causing consumer confusion with another food truck’s name or logo.
To find any prior pending or registered trade marks that are identical or similar to your name and logo, go to the IP Australia website and conduct a trade mark search.
Second, you can do a comprehensive search using the internet for identical and similar business names or logos. Even if an identical or similar competitor’s name or logo has not been registered with IP Australia, they may still have common law rights, so you may want to use different branding.
Make Appropriate Use Of Your Trade Mark.
Make sure you and everyone else in your company are using your trade marks consistently and correctly. This means having the same spelling and logo with the same fonts and colours consistently.
Monitor the Market for Unauthorised Used
Other food trucks may try to use your branding, which can take customers away from your business. Keep a watch out for potentially infringing names, logos, or other marks, and enforce your trade mark if you discover them. Often, a letter from your lawyer will suffice. Nevertheless, more serious legal action may be necessary. You risk creating a situation where potential customers associate your brand identification with someone else’s food truck if you overlook infringers.
Avoid Relying on Unregistered Rights
Registered trade mark rights provide the most effective protection against similar items. The major benefit of acquiring a registered right is that it provides you with physical, convincing proof of your rights regarding your trade mark. On the other hand, unregistered rights require the brand owner to establish his ownership of the rights before the copycat can use them.
Unregistered trade mark rights are rights that you obtain by using the trade mark in the marketplace for a certain period of time. Since you have acquired a reputation off of the unregistered trade mark, you have certain rights. Unregistered trade mark rights are very difficult to prove, so you should opt for registered rights.
Before deciding on the best way to protect your food truck from copycats, you should consider:
- whether you have automatic copyright rights;
- whether you have trade mark protection; and
- what kind of intellectual property that you want to protect for your food truck.
Frequently Asked Questions
In certain circumstances, you may have rights to a trade mark without registration. This is only if you have built a significant reputation in the marketplace. You should always opt for registered rights if possible.
A trade mark is a term, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates the origin of one party’s goods from those of another.