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Schools acting to protect their trade marks

Some high-profile Catholic schools are registering their trademarks, even before the result is known of a protracted court battle between the Sydney private school Cranbrook and a schoolwear retailer, for ownership of the school's brands on clothing.

The Australian reports that most of the nation's prestigious girls schools, and many boys schools, remain vulnerable to losing ownership of the schools' names, crests and mottos.

The government organisation that administers trademarks and logos is IP Australia. Trademarks are registered in 45 different classes, including clothing, educational services, computers and paper products. Each trademark costs $150 and lasts for 10 years.

The Marist Brothers' St Joseph's College, in Sydney's Hunters Hill, is protected by trademarks for its name, crest and motto, which means Strive for Better Things. Similarly, St Joseph's College in the Brisbane suburb of Nudgee, founded by the Christian Brothers, has taken extensive steps to protect its name.

"Since the school was established in 1891 it has generated a tremendous amount of goodwill," business manager Michael Cosgrove said.

At about the same time as Cranbrook contested the Wylie's trademark of its crest in Sydney, Nudgee College registered trademarks for the words Nudgee College, St Joseph's Nudgee College, the school crest and the motto, which means Sign of Faith.

"These days there are a lot more people out there trying to make a buck and if they think they can get away with it they'll just squat on your assets," Cosgrove says.

Xavier College in Melbourne, run by the Jesuits, has its name, crest and motto registered for books, clothes, educational services and religious services, including retreats.

But leading Sydney Jesuit school St Ignatius College, based in Riverview, is not protected by trademark, nor is its motto: Dare to do your Best. Headmaster Shane Hogan says the Cranbrook story had spurred the school to action.

"The last thing you want to do is fight for the heart of the school - the crest," Hogan says.

St Ignatius is in the process of registering its name and motto, its main crest and more than 12 other crests for internal houses and sports clubs. "We have a lot of work to do," Hogan says.

Adopting a new motto in fight for trademark rights (The Australian 15/3/04)

IP Australia
St Joseph's College, Nudgee
St Ignatius College, Riverview

15 Mar 2004