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5 Seconds of Summer Fall Foul of Trademark Law

Australian pop rock band, 5 Seconds of Summer, has changed their logo from the five mark tally symbol after being threatened with a breach of trademark law.

Clothing company, Undefeated, was threatening to sue the band claiming that the logo was too close to the clothing brands’. Both the band and the clothing company use the five tally symbol in slightly different stylised ways, but to avoid a lawsuit the band has decided to change their logo to a skull with hearts for eyes.

A trademark can be a word, name, slogan, design, symbol or other unique device that identifies a product or organisation; in this case, a band and a clothing company. It’s really important to make sure that you check if your logo, or a variation of it, is already in use before you embark on a marketing your product or organisation. You don’t want to set up a recognisable brand, only to have to change it, potentially causing you thousands of pounds in redesign, remarketing and regaining lost custom.

Registering a trademark enables you to stop not just identical trademarks from being registered, but similar marks that are likely to lead to confusion. Clothing company, Undefeated, decided that the logo that 5 Seconds of Summer was using was too similar and therefore had a legal right to challenge it.

It doesn’t matter how small or large you are, if another company is infringing a trademark that you have registered then you have every right to stop them. For example, a small charity of only 10 employees went up against Simon Cowell’s X-Factor band, Little Mix, when their name was still Rhythmix. The music charity Rhythmix asked the band to change their name as they had registered Rhythmix as a trademark, hence the change during the X-Factor programme to the band’s present name.

Gov.uk has a great online trademark checker, where you can search for keywords, phrases or images to ensure that the one you’ve designed isn’t already out there. If you’ve come up with a unique identifier for your brand you can then register and protect it.

If you need advice on trademarks or any other intellectual property, please get in touch with our expert solicitors at Slater and Gordon. Call us on 0800 916 9052 or contact us online and we will call you.

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