Owning your IP: sports brand turns idea into a business advantage

Published: 
11 October 2016

With registered intellectual property (IP) in Australia, the United Kingdom (UK) and Hong Kong, founder of Eliminator Sports, Martin McDonald knows a thing or two about the IP system and shares his experience with us.

It all started back in 2006 during the tennis Australian Open. Maria Sharapova was playing with a wrist injury that caused her to continuously pause the game. Martin thought, ‘why doesn’t she have a glove that is a sweatband, wrist support and palm grip all in one?’ that way she could continue to play. This sparked the idea for the Eliminator Sport glove – combining three sports industry products into one seamless product.

‘I checked online and found that no major sports company in the world has a glove with these features,’ Martin explains. ‘I sourced a company to check if this was a patentable idea and the search came back positive.’

The Eliminator Sports IP journey

Martin submitted his initial provisional patent application soon after and secured his brand with a trade mark. He admits that the process of registering your IP can be stressful and costly, but expresses the importance of owning the rights to your IP.

‘Capturing and owning the exclusive rights adds value to the product and brand,’ Martin says. ‘Being able not to shy away from potential business deals and collaborate with third parties while preventing infringement from others are business advantages you can gain from owning your IP.’

For Martin, it wasn’t just about coming up with an idea or name but to look at every possible angle and outcome. He identified his approach to go global from the beginning and is now in a better position to enforce his rights.

It’s important to understand that once you have obtained your IP rights you need to maintain them, which includes monitoring the use where others may infringe. Through checking online, Martin has come across another sports brand using his trade mark in a number of countries he owns the rights to. With a registered trade mark in Australia, Germany, the United States, the UK and Hong Kong, Martin is in a stronger position to take action.

Understanding your commercialisation options

If you’ve developed a great product, you would be considering how you can monetise that idea. Martin discussed a number of commercialisation strategies he has considered including licensing deals and collaborating with third parties.

Martin also discussed with us the commercialisation option of being first to market. ‘Looking back if I had a crystal ball, I would create an innovative product, come up with the brand name to register the trade mark and be first to market with the product,’ Martin explains. ‘With the right trade marks in place you can cover more ground and people will always remember a brand rather than simply a product.’

So, what’s the future of Eliminator Sports? ‘I would like Eliminator Sports to be the next major global future sports brand.’ Martin says. Watch this space!

 

Registering your IP