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Mark Summerfield

a registered Australian Patent and Trade Marks Attorney, and former Special Counsel at Watermark – Intellectual Asset Management, where he specialized in patent law and practice in the fields of digital and computer systems, information and communications technologies, and computer software. Originally qualified in electrical engineering, he spent the first 12 years of his career in academic and industrial roles in research, development and commercialization. He obtained a PhD in optical fibre technology and has over 12 years experience working as part of the team of patent and trade marks attorneys and IP lawyers at Watermark, where he advised and assisted individuals, companies and research institutions with management and protection of their intellectual assets.

Recent Articles by Mark Summerfield

Will Australia’s Listed Firms Save the IP Profession from Stagnation?

My fellow Australian patent attorney Andy Mukherji recently asked the question on this site: Are Australia’s listed IP firms doomed to fail? Doubtless the hyperbole was intentional, but Andy raises a fair point. The Australian IP professions – registered patent and trade marks attorneys (who, for the most part, would be recognized as patent agents rather than attorneys in the US) and IP lawyers – are currently engaged in what might well be regarded as a brave and daring experiment. Prior to 15 April 2013 the regulatory regime in Australia did not even permit patent attorneys to incorporate. Now, less than four years later, not only have many firms chosen to take up the option of incorporation, but Australia now has (to the best of my knowledge) the largest number of publicly-listed IP firms per capita in the world!

McDonald’s Australian Rebrand: “Macca’s”, a Local Slang Name

But this article is less concerned with actual imperialism, and more with cultural imperialism –particularly the “invasion” of this country by that once all-American, but now global, fast-food chain known variously in its land of origin as McDonald’s, the Golden Arches and Mickey-D’s. Here in Australia, however, McDonald’s most prevalent nickname is “Macca’s”. A recent branding survey commissioned by McDonald’s Australia found that 55 per cent of Australians refer to the company by its local slang name. But the temporary Macca’s rebranding also raises some interesting trademark issues.