Ward Keller welcomed its first trade mark law specialist in September 2017—Trade Mark Attorney Jacqueline Leong.
Originally from Malaysia, Jacqueline has been practising in trade mark law in Australia for four years and in the general intellectual property (IP) field for eight. ‘I’m passionate about IP’, said Jacqueline, who migrated to Australia in 2011 and moved to Darwin in mid-2017.
‘I was working on general commercial law and litigation matters for a couple of years when I decided I wanted to try something else. I had a stint with the Attorney-General’s chambers in Malaysia where I realised my true passion is in IP, so I specialised in it’, she said.
‘Trade marks are signs or brands used by individuals or organisations to distinguish their own goods and services from those provided by another’, Jacqueline explained. ‘A trade mark can be anything—a word, logo, name, phrase, letter, number, sound, shape, colour or a combination of these.’
Ward Keller now helps Territory businesses through the whole trade mark protection process, from searching the Trade Mark Register and filing applications to registering a trade mark and sending letters of demand to infringers.
‘In Darwin, there’s not a lot of knowledge about IP, particularly about trade marks, and a lot of local businesses are trading without any thought about registering a trade mark’, Jacqueline said. ‘We’ve found that many who have done it have done it incorrectly themselves or have engaged a general lawyer not based in the NT.
Protecting your trade mark is particularly important for Darwin businesses planning to trade in China.
‘China is a huge market for Australian businesses, but they often don’t think about protecting their trade marks’, Jacqueline said. ‘There are many cases of Chinese businesses copying Australian businesses’ trade marks and filing the trade marks in China well before the legitimate Australian owners. Many big businesses have spent years in the appeal system or litigation, which is very expensive, to get their trade marks back—Apple and Penfolds to name just two.
‘We want to help NT businesses understand the importance of trade marks and how to protect their IP.’
Jacqueline loves living in Darwin. ‘Coming from Asia, sometimes I forget I’m in Australia because there’s so many references to Asia here—the climate and the people—it’s so multicultural’, she said. ‘You can go to the markets in Rapid Creek or Nightcliff and feel like you’re in somewhere in Asia. It’s wonderful.’
Areas of Law
- trade mark law
- intellectual property law
Qualifications & Memberships
- Bachelor of Laws (Hons), National University of Malaysia
- Graduate Certificate in Trade Mark Law and Practice, University of Technology Sydney
- admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor in Malaysia (2009)
- Registered Trade Mark Attorney (2013)
- member of the Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia.