Protect your creativity: analysing a fashion start-up’s IP strategy

Published: 
5 June 2017

The Daily Edited (TDE) is an Australian fashion start-up that has succeeded in expanding on a global scale. Co-founded in 2011 by former corporate lawyers Alyce Tran and Tania Liu, their venture began as a part-time blog and has since grown to a fully integrated online and physical retail business. Their business model revolves around the concept of designing customisable and personalisable leather accessories. Last year, TDE had a $20 million turnover. This year, the brand sold a 30% stake in its business to OrotonGroup Australia.

So how did this brand become such an inspirational success story for creative entrepreneurs? One element is in their intellectual property (IP) strategy, which directly impacted the engagement of investors. ‘An investor will want to make sure that you or your company owns all of its IP,’ says Tran. ‘We have mainly focussed on registering our core designs and trade marks, but having a proper catalogue of all our registrations made the legal due diligence aspect of a recent transaction we did with OrotonGroup really hassle free.’

Along with creating a sizable customer base and large increase in market value, successful entrepreneurial ventures often catch the eye of copy cats looking to leverage these assets for their own gain. This has been no different for TDE.  ‘We have had problems with people taking images from our website and posting it on their own site to sell copycat product[s], which has been frustrating,’ she explains. ‘But having the design registrations in place allows our lawyer to send out a meaningful cease and desist notice to these said individuals as this is the first step you would take to protect your IP.’

Co-founder Alyce Tran, image sourced from businessinsider.com.au

Drawing on her own legal expertise has helped in the registration process, however Tran doesn’t believe it’s necessary to have any experience in practicing law to file a design right or trade mark. ‘In the fashion space designs are easy enough to register yourself.’ Adding, ‘I’m sure this becomes way more complicated if you have a patentable product, in which case some legal advice might be useful!’

The brand launched internationally earlier this year, and now has shop fronts across the US, Singapore and Australia. Having registered trade marks and business names has been instrumental in this expansion. ‘Registration ensures no one else can sell product under TDE name or logos globally’, notes Tran.

For creative entrepreneurs in the process of mapping out their IP strategy, Tran shares her three key pieces of advice: ‘Don’t use other people’s IP without asking (for example, brands on social media should seek permission from the content creator before reposting), don’t be afraid to seek help on the administrative side of your business, and register your IP.’

Registering your IP