When the reputation and growth of our fledgling Australian Charity came under threat, Perth intellectual property, trademark & patent attorneys, Wrays stepped in to defend and protect via its Pro Bono Committee.
It was October, 2021 and Pink Belt Project® was a newly Incorporated Association in Australia with a freshly appointed Board of Management and registration with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.
For more than three years, Founder Kristy Hitchens had been working to empower women on a recovery journey (particularly survivors of violence) by connecting them with martial arts for healing, health, wellbeing and growth.
This had been achieved through martial arts clubs all over Australia providing one year Pink Belt Scholarships to selected recipients.
Incorporation marked the Pink Belt Project’s transition from a home-grown, seed of an idea achieved with a bit of crowd-funding and Kristy dedicating her spare time to the cause to a formal not-for-profit structure.
With the support of her new Board, attention was turned to strengthening the foundations of the organisation to ensure a strong and sustainable future which included development of a professional new branding strategy.
But in October 2021, it came to Kristy’s attention that a similar business had recently launched in another state under a similar-sounding name and using documents that Kristy felt were too similar to the Pink Belt Project’s materials.
However without registered trade mark protection of the brand in place, a limited understanding of copyright law, and very few funds, Pink Belt Project felt powerless to stop the activities and potential associated damage to its reputation.
In what she says was a blind leap of faith, Kristy contacted Wrays Principal Marie Wong to share her story and seek preliminary advice to better understand her options. For Wrays, the decision to provide pro bono assistance to Pink Belt Project was an easy one. Marie says:
“The opportunity to help Pink Belt Project, an organisation dedicated to helping women survivors of violence was an absolute privilege. Wrays has a long history and strong culture of supporting women in both business and the community. Working with the Pink Belt Project was an opportunity to use our skills to make a real difference to those in need. Kristy and the Board of Pink Belt Project should be incredibly proud of the positive impact they are making on the lives of others. We look forward to working with them in the future.”
Wrays assisted Pink Belt Project to successfully obtain agreement from the other party to remove all similar items from circulation and undertake a name change.
In addition, to ensure that Pink Belt Project would hold a stronger position in the future, Marie with assistance from Wrays Lawyer Michelle Hankey provided advice on obtaining trademark protection for the name and logo.
Michelle helped Pink Belt Project identify the appropriate class protections needed and then created, submitted and managed the application on their behalf.
As a result, Pink Belt Project now holds registered trade mark protection in Australia with advice also provided on expanding this protection internationally as Pink Belt Project embarks on growing its impact outside Australia.
Following the Pink Belt Project’s recent launch of a professionally created new logo, Wrays has stepped in again to assist Pink Belt Project to secure trademark protection for the Pink Belt Project’s iconic new logo and expanded use of its branding into merchandise.
“To find out that something you have created from scratch with the sole purpose of benefiting others might not be adequately protected was a gut-wrenching experience and at first I did not know which way to turn for help,” Kristy said.
“It’s actually quite hard to put into words just how grateful I and the members of my Board of Management are for the level of care, empathy and above all else highly specialised professional advice and work Wrays has undertaken on our behalf.
Our ability to now confidently grow our fledgling charity into something with far greater impact is absolutely immeasurable and we couldn’t have achieved this without generous pro bono assistance by Wrays. “