Australia Uses Blockchain to Provide Better Counterfeit Protections for Australian Businesses and Consumers

December 18

A new initiative from the Australian Government, the Smart Trade Mark, provides Australian businesses with a  new technology to help protect their products from counterfeiting risks and imitation products in overseas markets.

IP Australia (an agency of Australia’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science which administers intellectual property rights) developed the Smart Trade Mark using blockchain and the Australian Trade Mark Register.  IP Australia, alongside start-up Agile Digital, successfully piloted the Smart Trade Mark.  They collaborated with Australian businesses Pialligo Estate (gourmet smallgoods) and Shaw Vineyard Estate (winery) to support their supply chain into South East Asia.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the pilot showed improvements in brand security for Australian trade mark holders, and increased consumer confidence when purchasing Australian products.  “By applying a Smart Trade Mark to Australian products, consumers and businesses could be able to instantly check it’s a registered Australian trade mark, ensuring it’s not counterfeit.”  Access to this information overseas is currently limited.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said that Australia’s brands were increasingly susceptible to counterfeiting, as Australia has some of the world’s most recognised brands.  There is a need to look at new ways to protect Australian brands, help businesses keep track of products overseas and better maintain the integrity of their supply chains.  “We want Australian businesses to continue to export their high-quality products and brands to the world with confidence that their intellectual property will be protected and that’s why the development of new initiatives such as the Smart Trade Mark are so important.”

Following the pilot, IP Australia will now look to make the Smart Trade Mark available to more Australian businesses to add to their own branding and labelling.

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Adrian Lawrence is the head of the Firm's Asia Pacific Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group. He is a partner in the Sydney office of Baker McKenzie where he advises on media, intellectual property and information technology, providing advice in relation to major issues relating to the online and offline media interests. He is recognised as a leading Australian media and telecommunications lawyer.

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