Trust Badge – A Trial of IP Australia’s Smart Trade Mark

Just over a year ago, I posted about the award winning Smart Trade Mark initiative being developed by IP Australia, and its application in protecting supply chains as well as combating counterfeiting activities, both nationally and globally.  The system is now at the trial stage with IP Australia working with the National Rugby League (NRL) to test Trust Badge – IP Australia’s implementation of their smart trade mark.


What is Smart IP?

The Smart Trade Mark concept is the first in a series of Smart Intellectual Property (IP) Rights being developed by IP Australia, to support and protect inventors, entrepreneurs and businesses operating on the global stage.

Smart IP Rights are a digital representation or “fingerprint” of an owner’s IP.  They create a connection and a thread of online information between the IP right on the official IP register and relevant digital services, thereby supporting owners in enforcing their IP rights.


How Does Smart IP Work?

The concept behind the system is that goods are scanned and tracked as they move through a supply chain using:

  • A series of APIs (application programming interfaces) for connecting digital and online services;
  • Mobile apps, and;
  • Blockchain technology – an open and distributed internet-based record of transactions that cannot be altered without the entire network being made aware and providing their consent

Essentially it is a “track and trace” solution that includes IP and government authenticity stamps, as well as clear information as to the origin of goods.

The system also provides further protection through its use of notifications.  All events and locations are recorded within the blockchain as the goods pass through the supply chain.  Any suspicious activity is notified to the legitimate parties concerned.

Using this information, the Smart IP system also serves to provide greater insight and intelligence around counterfeiting activity within global supply chains.


Trust Badge

The Trust Badge is the digital connection between the registered trade mark and the consumer.  During online shopping, it provides a visual link to the registered trade mark, thereby increasing trust in the brand, as well as helping consumers identify authentic products and instil confidence that they are purchasing genuine goods and services.


Current Trials and Future Applications

The Trust Badge is currently being trialled with the National Rugby League (NRL) on the NRL Shop and Savvy Supporter websites, with the aim of tackling the problem of counterfeit merchandise.  Initial findings and feedback indicate that consumers have an understanding of the purpose of the Trust Badge, as well as a feeling that it serves its purpose of increasing their confidence when shopping online.

With the success of these preliminary findings, IP Australia is increasing public availability of the system through further trials, which will also ensure the system develops appropriately to meet the needs of businesses.

Alistair Curson



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