General rules of trademarks

SOME multinationals take protecting their brand very seriously, as Perth-based foundry and plumbing supplier Galvin Engineering discovered.

It decided to change its logo from the red “G” that it had held for much of its 60-year existence to a “G” and stylised “E” on a blue background.

Such impudence was enough to mobilise the considerable legal army in the pay of US-based industrial giant General Electric.

Just as the trademark registration process was concluding in 1997, General Electric’s lawyers lodged an objection, claiming Galvin’s mark was substantially similar to its own, that it was similar to its trademark that had built a reputation in Australia, and that Galvin was not the owner of the trademark.

The case concluded with Galvin being allowed to use its “GE” logo on a conditional basis and involved a cash payout to Galvin.

The legal stoush, however, cost the company tens of thousands of dollars. It could have faced costs of nearly $1 million to change its stationery and patents had it submitted to General Electric’s demand that it drop the new GE logo altogether.


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102nd-Schlam Engineering5
103rd↑Karridale Group5
104th↑Galvin Engineering5
105th↑GHS Engineering5
106th↑CSE ComsourceNFP
147 engineers ranked by number of engineers in WA

Year established in WA

12th-Craig Mostyn Group1923
15th↓Galvin Engineering1930
16th-AJ Cochrane and Sons1933
42 WA business dynasties ranked by year established in WA

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