US giant Taco Bell has finally secured the right to use its brand in Australia after negotiating a settlement with local Australian restaurant, Taco Bill. This settlement will bring an end to a legal battle which has reoccurred intermittently since the 1980’s.

The battle of Taco Bell v Taco Bill is not only a timely reminder of the power of trademark registrations, but also a reminder that sometimes litigating to enforce your trademark rights isn’t the best way to reach your desired outcome – and may not be what is best for your business in the long run.

By ensuring that your trademarks are registered, you are putting your business in a much stronger position to legally defend your position or negotiate a commercial outcome with a competitor who starts using your brand, or a slight variation of it. From our experience, commercially negotiated outcomes are often the best outcomes for parties involved in a trademark dispute. Not only does a negotiated outcome allow you to avoid incurring excessive litigation costs, it gives you the opportunity to explore alternative outcomes which may end up being far more valuable to your business in the long run, such as licensing or co-existence arrangements.