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5 Key Points About Trademarking Cultural Events

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Cultural events, such as festivals or exhibitions, are an important component of celebrating New Zealand’s heritage and diversity. To effectively promote and protect these events, you can maximise the benefits of intellectual property (IP) protections like trade marks. This article will take you through five things you should know about trademarking cultural events in New Zealand. 

1. Use of Trade Marks in Cultural Events

It is important to understand how trade marks are used in the context of cultural events. Commercial businesses are not the only entities that can use trade marks. For a cultural event, a trade mark might include the event’s:

  • name;
  • slogan;
  • logo; or
  • any other identifier that distinguishes it from other events.

There are various benefits to registering your trade marks for cultural events. By registering any trade marks associated with your event, you have exclusive rights. This means you can protect your IP rights and prevent third parties from using the event’s branding without authorisation. Registering your marks also makes them more recognisable to the public and thus can act as marketing material. Overall, a trade mark preserves the event’s integrity and enhances its reputation and credibility within the community.

2. The Relationship Between Trade Marks and Sponsorships

Cultural events often rely on attention and interest from sponsors and advertisers for funding. Fortunately, trade mark registration provides a mechanism to take action against unauthorised commercial exploitation of any event-related branding. 

Trademarking brand elements of your cultural event increases your likelihood of accessing sponsorship and partnership opportunities. A registered trade mark shows a degree of professionalism and commitment to your IP. As such, it will instil confidence in prospective investors and make them more likely to invest in your event.  

In addition, a registered trade mark establishes a clear framework for licensing agreements. This allows you, as an event organiser, to monetise the use of event-related branding. By granting licences to partners, you can generate revenue streams while maintaining your brand integrity. 

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3. Trade Mark Use for International Recognition and Promotion

Trade mark registration can facilitate international recognition and promotion of your cultural event. International trade mark registration is becoming more important in an increasingly globalised world. Registered trade marks provide a degree of legitimacy that can enhance the event’s appeal to a much wider audience. Trade mark registration allows you to enforce your rights in foreign countries, protecting against trade mark infringement on an international scale. This is critical if you intend to promote beyond New Zealand’s borders.

4. The Importance of Brand Consistency

Consistency is essential to branding cultural events as it establishes a strong and recognisable identity. Trade marks play an important role in maintaining consistency by unifying that all event-related materials. This may include, for instance, having your logo on all promotional materials and any merchandise. By registering trade marks for different branding elements of your event, you can enforce strict guidelines for their use. 

A consistent image enhances public recognition and fosters a sense of familiarity among your attendees and sponsors. This will aid your event’s long-term success and sustainability.

5. How to Register a Trade Mark For Your Event

Once you have understood why you should register trade marks for your event, you need to know how to make an application. The trade mark registration process in New Zealand involves several steps, including:

  1. Trade mark selection: When registering your trade mark, you must consider how distinctive it is and how relevant it is to your event. A unique and memorable trade mark will enhance the event’s identity and make the registration process easier.
  2. Trade mark searches: It is critical to perform thorough trade mark searches to ensure that someone else is not already using your proposed mark. This search helps avoid potential conflicts and any objections to your application during registration. Online databases, such as the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) Trade Mark Check, can assist you with this process. Alternatively, you might seek assistance help from a professional.
  3. Application filing: You must file your application with the IPONZ and include detailed information about your mark with clear descriptions.
  4. Examination process: After submitting your application, it will undergo a thorough examination process by the IPONZ, where its eligibility will be assessed. Be prepared to respond to any objections or challenges that may arise.
  5. Registration finalising: Once your trade mark application has been approved, you will receive a Certificate of Registration from the IPONZ. You must continue to monitor your mark to maintain ongoing protection of your IP.
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Key Takeaways

Cultural events are core to celebrating New Zealand’s heritage and diversity. Trade marks are one way that organisers of events can protect and promote them from misuse or misappropriation. If you are organising a cultural event in New Zealand,  some key concepts to understand include:

  • the use of trade marks in cultural events; 
  • the relationship between trade marks and sponsorships;
  • trade marks and international promotion; 
  • the importance of brand consistency; and
  • how to register a trade mark for your event.

If you need assistance protecting a trade mark for your New Zealand-based cultural event, our experienced trade mark lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page.

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Emily Young

Emily Young

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