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
- Have you developed a brand? Protect it with a registered trade mark. You can learn about trade marks, search for existing trade marks and apply for a trade mark.
- Protect the way your product works with a patent. Learn about the benefits of patents, search for existing patents and get an idea of how much a patent may cost.
- Protect the way your product looks with a design. You can learn about designs, search for existing designs and apply.
- Understand your commercialisation options to monetise your IP.
- If you’re an entrepreneur or start-up our IP – your business edge magazine helps steer you through how protecting your IP can help grow your business.
- We understand the IP system can be complex so we’ve put together the basics for patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder’s rights.