The Doughnut Time business may have collapsed but the owner’s refusal to sell the brand name suggests he may have undisclosed plans for a revival some time.
That’s the view of Bennett & Philp intellectual property lawyer Nicole Murdoch.
She says reported moves by the company’s chief executive, Dan Strachotta, to buy the Doughnut Time intellectual property brand and take over some of the stores, collapsed when then founder Damian Griffiths decided not to sell the brand IP.
Nicole says an undisclosed intention for future use by the owner is the most likely reason for not selling the name.
“The value of the business was in the name – by stopping the assignment of the name it meant the business buyer could be held to ransom to the seller. The buyer either can’t use the name at all or they would have only a licence to use it and that licence could be terminated.
“Licences can end. Thus the person who owned the trade mark could withdraw the right to use it or take the name back, sell it to someone else or even start a competing store some time later.”
Doughnut Time has gone into liquidation with its workers reportedly owed $200,000 in unpaid wages and now launching crowdfunding ventures to recover lost wages.
Nicole says there was inevitably some speculation and finger pointing when any business failed but it was not a simple move to just take the name and apply it to a new venture.
“The person who owns that name, or brand, may want to sell it to another investor so as a buyer, you have to be sure of what you are buying. If you don’t own the brand you operate under then you need to ensure, as a buyer you are protected for your future use of the brand and including being protected against any future sale of the brand by the owner.
“However if you own the Intellectual Property of the brand name, and you have intentions that are not yet public, it makes sense to hold on to the brand until you are ready to launch again.
“As to what is in store for the Doughnut Time brand, who knows? We could have doughnuts back on the business menu one day,” she says.