Intellectual property rights pertain to the rights given to an inventor or creator over their intangible assets over a period of time. For example, a drink manufacturer may own a patent on their formula and copyright for their jingles and other creative copy. This means that no other company is allowed to copy these formulas or taglines. Otherwise, they may breach or infringe the patent or copyright rights.

Coca-Cola’s formula or Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code are some famous examples of intellectual property. But you’ll be surprised to learn that there is so much more than just cola recipes and original books that are protected by intellectual property law. 

Check out some intangible assets trademarked, copyrighted or patented by popular brands and celebrities.


Tiffany’s Blue Colour

The distinct blue colour that Tiffany & Co uses for its packaging and other branding can be easily recognised anywhere. But did you know that the light medium robin egg blue colour is a registered trade mark by the company? The colour was exclusively created for the company by Pantone and cannot be used by other jewellers for their branding, or Tiffany can claim trade mark infringement.

Burberry’s Plaid Pattern

Burberry has used its iconic plaid pattern for its Gabardine trench coats since the early 1920s. Now it has become an easily identifiable feature of the brand. So it comes as no surprise that Burberry legally owns the trademark rights to its check pattern. Recently, the Italian supreme court sided with Burberry on an infringement claim. 

Usain Bolt’s Gesture

Usain Bolt became a worldwide sensation after breaking countless sprinting records. In addition to being widely recognised as the greatest sprinter in the world, the now-retired athlete gained popularity for his signature sign. Bolts own the trade mark to this celebratory pose of pointing into the air with one outstretched arm while the other arm remains bent.

Eiffel Tower’s Lighting Display

Eiffel Tower is one of the most well-known monuments in the world. And it looks even more magical when it sparkles and lights up at night. But you could get in trouble for photographing it at night and use the images for commercial purposes. The lighting display or various illuminations of the Eiffel Tower are protected and cannot be used without the authorisation of Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE).

Mike Tyson’s Tattoo

Just like a piece of art or photograph, tattoos are subjected to copyright protection. Famously, Mike Tyson’s facial tattoo was the subject of a copyright infringement case. The tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill sued Warner Brothers for duplicating the tattoo in their hit comedy ‘The Hangover’. While Whitmill’s request for a preliminary injunction to halt the release of the film was denied, he was granted a permanent injunction for “reckless copyright infringement”.

Mockingjay Whistle

Sounds can be legally protected as well. No wonder Lions Gate Entertainment has trade marked Rue’s four-note song featured in the dystopian movie series.

Beyoncé and JAY-Z’s Daughter’s Name

Yes, you read that right. The music royalties have trade marked their first born’s name- Blue Ivy Carter. After all, she has already won a grammy and several other accolades at just nine years old.

Want to learn how intellectual property law in Australia impacts your brand? Get in touch with an experienced IP lawyer today.