World Intellectual Property Organization

Creative Branding Strategy of Ozgene Pty Limited - An Australian Biotechnology Company

Making the Most Effective Use of its Trade Mark 

Ozgene Pty Limited, an Australian company, has been very successful in its unique business in the global marketplace since 1999.  

Many factors have contributed to its outstanding success, making it an acknowledged world leader in its highly specialized field.

Amongst the success factors, its innovative approach to developing its branding strategy around  its trade mark has made the company highly recognizable amongst its customers.

Ozgene Pty Limited is a biotech company, and its business is to produce transgenic mice to a customer's specifications.

A transgenic mouse is one which has had a gene deleted, or a gene inserted, either in a specific location in the mouse's DNA, or randomly in its DNA.

Mice and humans are up to 97.5% genetically identical. An understanding of the function of genes in mice, therefore, provides an understanding of the function of genes in human beings.

Genes are responsible for the differences and similarities between people. Such things as the hair color and eye color occur because of the different genetic makeup between people. So also whether they have a high metabolism and are slim, or a low metabolism and easily gain weight.

But more importantly, the observation of the function of a gene provides an understanding of the role of the gene in human disease.

Certain genes are responsible for such diseases as cystic fibrosis, haemophilia and huntington's disease.

Certain genes also cause a predisposition to such diseases as heart disease, diabetes, psoriosis, and numerous other diseases.

An understanding of the function of a gene in causing disease or resulting in predisposition to disease assists in the development of new therapeutic drugs to treat that disease, or vaccines to prevent disease.

Ozgene's business commenced in 1999, and it quickly established itself as a leader in the scientific community in the generation of transgenic mice.

It counts amongst its customers the largest pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the United States, Europe and Japan, and the most prestigious universities and research institutes in the world.

Over 90% of its business is in the United States, Europe and Japan.

It is located in Perth in Western Australia, the most remote capital city in the country that is the most remote from everywhere else in the world.

From such an isolated location it has established it global leadership in its specialist field, and has done so with exciting rapidity.

Impressively, its revenues since 2001 have doubled every year.

Today, it employs over 40 specially trained and dedicated staff serving the company's global customers.

Ozgene's trade mark is not of itself particularly eye catching.

Ozgene's trade mark The trade mark calls attention to Ozgene's location in Australia, referring firstly to Oz, and secondly by representing the Southern Cross star constellation, which is only visible from the southern hemisphere, and which is also reproduced on the Australian flag.
© Copyright Ozgene.  Copyright of all mice characters in this article belongs to Ozgene. Therefore, none of these mice characters may be reproduced without the explicit permission of Ozgene

Ozgene's innovative use of this simple trade mark however, has been a significant contributor to its outstanding commercial success.

With the sense of humor that Ozgene's management brings to their business, they began to, appropriately, create mouse characters.

The knockout mouse – a play on "knocking out" a gene


The laboratory mouse

The Dorothy mouse – from the "Land from Oz", a play on the character familiar to Americans from "The Wizard of Oz".

The knockout mouse

The laboratory mouse

The Dorothy mouse

The characters were used on Ozgene's web site, and on other marketing and promotional material. They were well received by Ozgene's customers, who appreciated the sense of humor that Ozgene had.

The mouse characters then began to display the Ozgene trade mark.

More inventive mouse characters were created, and all displayed the Ozgene trade mark.

Each year Ozgene is an exhibitor at the Biotechnology Industy Organisation annual conference in North America.

With each conference attended, Ozgene created a new mouse, based on some theme represented by the city that hosted the conference.

Bio 2002 in Toronto.
The Canadian lumberjack mouse with the Australian mouse

Bio 2003 Washington DC
George Washington mouse crossing the Delaware River

Bio 2004 San Francisco
The Hippie Mouse

The Canadian lumberjack mouse with the Australian mouse George Washington mouse crossing the Delaware River The Hippie Mouse

Bio 2005 Philadelphia Benjamin Franklin Mouse

2004 Japan Marketing Tour Samurai Mouse

Bio 2006 Chicago Jazz Mouse

Benjamin Franklin Mouse Samurai Mouse Jazz Mouse

The mouse characters have an endearing appeal, and get noticed.

And so does Ozgene's name and trade mark.

T-shirts displaying a mouse character are given to visitors to its exhibits, and to customers, and are a highly sought after prize.

That, after all, is the purpose of a trade mark – to make your product or service recognizable in its market. Customers will recognize it, as well as potential customers.

Cute cartoons of furry little animals however do not bring customers to Ozgene in the first place.

The highly technical and specialized work that Ozgene does in a demanding industry is successful because of the highly skilled and expert staff that Ozgene is fortunate to attract, the cutting edge technical expertise of its founders, Dr Frank Koentgen and Dr Gabi Suess, and the passionate leadership of its CEO, Dr Frank Koentgen. It is these factors that bring customers to Ozgene for the highly skilled technical work that it does.

But, first, potential customers have to know that Ozgene exists. And to achieve that, Ozgene's innovative use of its trade mark in its marketing strategy has been a major contributor to Ozgene's recognition in the global marketplace.

Contributed by  Philip Mendes, Partner, Innovation Law, Brisbane.

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