How a Trademark Infringement Cost a Small Business $200,000

Published on August 29, 2018

Woman designing a brandA lawsuit about trademark infringement can be one of the worst nightmares of any business. It is for this reason that company owners need to undertake all the necessary measures to be original. This includes hiring an agency that specialises in digital design in Sydney or anywhere in NSW for a unique logo.

To further understand the harm of it, learn the story of James Christian.

James Christian versus Nestle

James Christian was a fledgeling small business owner in Australia who sold vitamins online called A-Sashi Vitamins. He did not create the supplements himself, but worked with a Florida vitamin manufacturer.

He was doing all right until Nestle, one of the biggest brands in the world, sued him for trademark infringement. According to the lawsuit, they “owned” the word “Musashi.” Further, they believed that Christian intended to write his brand’s name on the labels and logos to associate it with Nestle’s products.

The Full Court released their decision on November 2015. It awarded a general injunction that prevented Christian from using his supposed trademarks on his product. This extended to marks that were not present in the products, but can be found in promotional materials such as social media.

Eventually, Christian had to stop trading after he lost about $200,000. Moreover, he needed to pay Nestle for the damages.

The Important Lessons from the Story

The loss suffered by Christian seems trivial compared to that of other businesses, but for someone who operates small, it spells everything. While what he went through can be considered tragic, there are also important lessons to be learned.

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One, to claim ignorance is a weak defence. It is always important to perform due diligence and exhaust all means to ensure the business brand’s originality. Most of all, it is necessary to work with the right professionals. These can include graphic designers who know the law and help the brand feel authentic. These may require investments, but they are expectedly much cheaper than a lawsuit.