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HVAC&R trademarks – 3 things to know!

Trademarks: they’re not just for big corporations with catchy jingles. In the world of HVAC&R, protecting your brand is crucial, but navigating the trademark waters can be as tricky as fixing a faulty compressor. Fear not, fellow HVAC&R enthusiasts, for we’re here to shed some light on the subject. Let’s dive into the three things you need to know about trademarks in our industry.

1. Creative, Not Descriptive

Don’t try to trade mark generic phrases or images. Here are some examples from IP Australia of trade marks that would almost certainly be rejected:

  • “Ultra White” for paper
  • “Juicy Oranges” for orange juice
  • An image of a cat for pet food

So for all you HVAC&R folks, forget about applying to trade mark:

  • “Super Cool” for your air conditioning business
  • An icon with fan blades for electric fan manufacturing
  • An image of a gas cylinder for refrigerant supplies

If you do take your changes any try one of the above (or anything similar), IP Australia won’t be impressed – and you might just be on the receiving end of a swift rejection letter (known as an “adverse report”). So, instead of sweating over rejected applications, get inventive. Choose a trademark as unique as a kangaroo in a snowstorm.

In the vast expanse of trademarks, the ones that stand out are those that spark curiosity, evoke emotion, or simply make you grin. Think outside the box – or should we say, outside the air duct – and come up with something that sets you apart from the crowd. Whether it’s a quirky name or a visually striking logo, let your creativity flow like a cool breeze on a scorching day.

2. Use It or Lose It

Once you’ve snagged that trademark, don’t let it gather dust faster than a forgotten filter. Because if you don’t use your new trade mark within 3 years of registration, or you start using the trademark but then let it to lie dormant for 3 years, one of your competitors might try to have your trademark cancelled with a “non-use application”.

But fear not: Even a very modest marketing effort can keep your trademark safe from the trademark reaper. No need for full-blown advertising campaigns in industry magazines such as Ecolibrium or CCN, or a premier stand at ARBS. Even a handing out a few flyers or business cards with your trademark at AIRAH trade nights could be sufficient.

So picture this: your trademark is like a plant. Neglect it, and it withers away into obscurity. But nurture it, water it with promotions, and watch it flourish into a recognizable symbol of trust and quality in the HVAC&R jungle. Don’t be the business that lets their trademark fade into the background. Be the one that makes it shine brighter than a gleaming condenser coil.

3. Watch Out for Big Fish

In every industry, there are big players who fiercely guard their territory. A golden nugget of advice: Avoid applying for a trademark that closely resembles the trademarks of well-known and well-resourced businesses in your sector. Because even if your trade mark sneaks past the initial hurdles and is provisionally accepted, it’s just the start of a nail-biting 3-month “opposition period”.

How has this played out in the HVAC&R space? Let’s take a peek at Seeley International – a name that seems to pop up more often in trade mark disputes than a dropped wrench in quiet workshop. Seeley, like many other seasoned industry players, seem to have their eagle eyes scanning new trade mark registrations for any hints of similarities.

A few Seeley trademark showdowns to mull over:

And the drama continues this year as Seeley gears up to block a well-known HVAC outfit in Perth from trademarking its business name “Cool Breeze Air Conditioning”. Presumably, Seeley will be banking on its earlier mark “Breezair”. A decision from the Trade Marks Office on this opposition is expected soon.

Moral of the story? Avoid the trademark turf of industry heavyweights, or better yet, lace up your gloves and get ready for a bout at the Trade Marks Office!

Remember, in the world of trademarks, it’s not just about protecting your brand. It’s about doing it smartly, and with style. So, stay creative, stay active, and above all, trademark with confidence. After all, a cool brand is a powerful one.

Want some FREE specialist help with your HVAC&R trademarks?

One of our legal experts will be happy to set up a complimentary 30-minute legal consultation. Simply contact us via our online enquiry form, by calling on 03 8683 5645 or by emailing us at [email protected]

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