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International trade mark disputes are sure to present difficulties

Who has the patent on ugg boots? It's unclear at the moment.

If you want to protect your intellectual property against the possibility of other Australian businesses stealing it, trade mark is often advisable. By trademarking your inventions, you put yourself on solid legal ground so if anyone else tries to profit from your creativity, you can stop them. But what happens when you have such a dispute on the international level?

Enforcing trade mark law in Australia is one thing, but dealing with such problems on an international scale is another challenge altogether.

The "ugg boots" battle rages in the US

Enforcing trade mark law in Australia is one thing, but dealing with such problems on an international scale is another challenge altogether. Case in point: According to many media reports, the original maker of "ugg boots" is currently dealing with a messy legal dispute because of a larger business in the United States that's allegedly trying to take their idea and force them out of business.

Australian Leather Pty Ltd has been manufacturing the boots for almost 25 years now; American company Deckers, which has an annual turnover of $2.4 billion, is now trying to secure the exclusive rights to sell them. Deckers has sued for those rights, but Australian Leather has counter-sued. Each party wants the other to cease and desist sales, and the argument is particularly tough to resolve because of the differences in international IP laws.

Going abroad presents new challenges

So what makes overseas intellectual property law issues tough to resolve for Australians? There are many possible answers. IP Australia points out a big one – that often, even if you do have grounds to sue someone for control of your IP, it can be nearly impossible to identify the trade mark infringer and serve them with a summons.

When your legal issues extend beyond Australia, they can be particularly challenging.
When your legal issues extend beyond Australia, they can be particularly challenging.

It's also tough to find lawyers or judges who will be familiar with the international laws involved, or agree on an appropriate level of damages when the two parties deal in different currencies. For all of these reasons and more, professional help is often necessary.

How we can help at Alder IP

If you're dealing with a complex trade mark issue involving overseas parties, you'll almost certainly want an expert on IP services in Sydney who can help you out. At Alder IP, we can step up – we have a team of legal experts who can handle tough cases both in Australia and overseas.

We're well aware that your business' intellectual property is one of your most valuable assets, and we're dedicated to protecting it. Talk to us today and find out what we can do to help.