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Facing Opposition

Friday, 1 Feb, 2019

I often find myself reflecting and writing at this time of year. It probably has a lot to do with my location. We are away in paradise, aka Dutchies Beach in Port Stephens, for an extended long weekend. It’s become somewhat of a family tradition celebrating Australia Day with my parents and good friends up here, but made all the more special by being the Cub’s first trip to the beach!

I think also it’s that time of year where the festive season is wrapping up – sure it’s a month since Christmas, and although I have still been working during our little Cub’s nap times, there has still been this Summer holiday vibe and a sense that February is really when work officially kicks off again. For my shoes that’s definitely the case… even though there’s been a lot happening on the sidelines the last month or so. I plan to finally reveal my brand name in a couple of weeks… **heart flutters** Some of you have been waiting and asking for a while now as I’ve held that card close to my chest, so I can’t wait to be able to share all. There’s just been a few hold ups… more on that in a moment.

Speaking of this time of year, it’s also exactly two years since I made the call to resign from my job and go after this dream properly – two years!!! If you asked me then would my shoes be launched by now, I would have definitely said yes. But as I’m learning, this journey (self employed/entrepreneurial/mumma life) has its challenges – all character building, and all part of the story of course. In case you are wondering, I have no regrets about how it has panned out so far, and I do consider myself very blessed to be in this season of life. But I am of course keen to get my design and brand launched before someone else releases something similar though – and so this absolutely must be the year my shoes launch.

The end of 2018 was all about protection, ensuring my brand is properly protected before putting it out there in the public domain – meaning before I can say my brand is called ‘X’, we needed to get all the trademarking underway.

As a result, I am now facing opposition from a well-known Aussie brand (who I won’t name, at least for now…). They sent a letter from their attorney demanding ‘we cease and desist’ using our brand (we haven’t even launched it yet!), and gave us 5 days to execute and reply to their demands to not trade in various classes that we had applied for our trademark in. The letter was dated and sent 20th December. So yes, that makes the fifth day, Christmas Day. I mean, seriously? I feel like just a little guy being towered over by big business bullies, trying to intimidate me with groundless claims and then adding insulting conditions (remembering that Christmas was on a Tuesday, so this was sent on what was the last or second last day of work for many people). 

You hear that line that ‘it’s not personal, it’s business’, but this business IS personal to me!

This brand clearly has deep pockets and must just try to bluff their way against anyone new, even if there’s no likelihood people will confuse the two brands. It’s ruthless and hostile. Their brand is not at all similar and their products are completely different (although admittedly they don’t know what my products are yet). I may sound naive – “that’s how the world works” one might say – but does it really need to? “Give the little guy a go”, I say. (And maybe also “Don’t start with unnecessary hostility like giving someone five days to respond when it’s five days before Christmas…”). Anyway, the only reason they know my brand right now is because of the trademark registration I submitted… but they’ll soon know a lot more about me and my product, and may wish they’d launched both themselves!

Anyway, this opposition has been a distraction in time and costs, but I’m confident it will be overcome. After all, I know who is on our side… 😉 Surrounding yourself with the right people with the right expertise is vital, and I am grateful for who is fighting in my camp*. This opposition has also stirred up the fight in me, so I guess I should be grateful for the extra energy and determination that it’s brought with it.

By the way, speaking of trademarks, did I mention that I’ve not only applied to trademark my brand in Australia, but also NZ, the US, the UK, China, Singapore, and a bunch of others (Korea, anyone)? When I said I had a big vision, I wasn’t joking!!

All this talk about protecting my brand, and yet I still haven’t shown you – but I promise I won’t let this opposition stop me doing a big reveal on Valentine’s Day, February 14. It’s a labor of love, after all!

Zan xo

*Shout out to Jacqui Pryor, our amazing Trademark Attorney at Quick Off The Mark

P.S Thanks to all who have done my survey – I’ve had heaps of responses. If you haven’t yet done so, or wouldn’t mind sharing it with your friends and colleagues, I would be very grateful. You can find it here.

P.P.S I’ll soon be looking for some lovely ladies who may be interested in participating in a small focus group. If you are interested, please let me know here.

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