Hand drawing in the earth
20 March 2016

The product: Li'TYA skincare products

Li'TYA - an Aboriginal name, meaning 'of the earth' - uses the natural healing properties of native plants. Its skincare and spa products use ingredients such as guangdong, lillypilly and wild rosella flowers.

Selling skincare and health treatments that draw from ancient Aboriginal traditions is both a privilege and a burden for Gayle Heron, who says that protecting protocols around Aboriginal healing philosophies can be challenging.

'With a lot of the healing it's really a trust element where you share this knowledge and you expect it to be treated with respect. It's quite a difficult concept to own, but trade secrets and confidentiality agreements can be useful when using conventional intellectual property (IP) regimes isn't appropriate'.

The strategy: trade mark protection

Gayle Heron has been conscious from day one of registering and protecting trade marks. 'I did not bring a product out until I'd had the Li'TYA name trade marked', she says.

She believes that IP rights and brand are inextricably linked.

'I think that's what your business is about. It's really important. That's what I've been doing - building a brand - and to me that is the success of the business'.

As the Li'TYA brand expands overseas, Gayle moves quickly to secure IP protection whenever it enters a new market.

Gayle Heron says that some Australian spas have copied Li'TYA's concepts and treatments, 'even to the extent of using our images and our wording'.

However, she takes the pragmatic view that she must first concentrate on her own business. Pursuing legal action is often expensive: 'It's the money and time - and both are very precious'.



Registering your IP