Fiona Trethewey


Fiona Trethewey heads up our intellectual property team and specialises in intellectual property law and franchising.  She has over 20 years experience in assisting clients with a range of commercial issues linked to these areas of specialty.

She manages trade mark and intellectual property portfolios for a number of clients nationally and internationally across a broad range of industries and assists other clients with prosecution and infringement matters.  Clients she has acted for include Sensis, Glossier Inc, United Biscuits, Monde Nissin, Toyota, BP, The Commonwealth of Australia, Canopy Growth Corporation, Tweed Inc, Spectrum Cannabis Canada, Vivo Cannabis, TS Brandco, This Works, Philmac, Schweppes, GLI International, Access Hardware, Ziebart, Mahercorp, Dunlop Flooring, Penley Estate, Kirrihill Wines, Kangaroo Island Futures Authority, Broadsheet Media, T Bar, The Honest Group, ratemyagent, Helping Hand Aged Care, Vet Partners, Silk Laser Clinics, iX Biopharma, XBlades, Benepha Inc, Lambrook, Beaumont Tiles, Centennial Park, Cocolat, and The Wolf Gang.

Fiona assisted Philmac to obtain the first colour trade mark registration in Australia.  She also assisted the Kangaroo Island Futures Authority establish the regional branding for Kangaroo Island.

Fiona advises on all aspects of Australian and New Zealand trade mark law including searches, applications, registrations, prosecutions, licensing and distribution, enforcement and litigation.  She is genuinely interested in familiarising herself with her client’s businesses and helping them to achieve desired commercial outcomes.

She also has expertise in commercial transactions, licensing and distribution and has advised the Commonwealth of Australia on major commercial and procurement contracts.

In litigation, Fiona has acted in various disputes and court proceedings involving alleged trade mark and copyright infringement for clients including The Honest Group, Smartpath, Urban Property Group, Helping Hand Aged Care, Magellan and Schleese.  Recently she acted for Sensis in successful trade mark infringement proceedings (and defending a non-use counteraction) in the Federal Court against Senses Direct.

Fiona acts for a number of franchise systems and has been recognised by the Franchise Council of Australia as its 2009 SA Franchise Woman of the Year and was named South Australia’s “Lawyer of the Year” for Franchise Law for Best Lawyers in 2020.

Before founding Vardon Legal in 2013, Fiona was a partner in a large national firm where she was employed for some 13 years.  She holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Commerce from Flinders University, has a Masters of Law (specialising in Intellectual Property) from the University of Melbourne and is a Registered Trade Marks Attorney.

Fiona is a member of the Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand (IPSANZ) and a fellow of the Institute of Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys. She is also a member of the Emerging Issues Committee for the International Trade Marks Association (INTA).


Fiona has received the following recognition:

The Best Lawyers™ in Australia for Franchise Law (2015-2022) and The Best Lawyers™ Global Business Edition (2021).

Doyles Guide – recommended in the Leading Intellectual Property Lawyers and Leading Technology Media & Telecommunications Lawyers categories for South Australia (2018, 2019 & 2021).

Latest News & Insights

Australian Domain Changes – Act Now

Posted on BY Fiona Trethewey

With the recent developments in the Australian domain name licensing space, businesses will soon have a greater choice of domain names. However, greater choice for some comes with greater restrictions on eligibility for others, in particular foreign businesses. Registrants should obtain advice now to ensure they retain their entitlement to existing domain names and be […]

Read more

Court finds Sensis marks infringed by Senses Direct

Posted on BY Fiona Trethewey

Sensis Pty Ltd (Sensis), one of Australia’s largest marketing and advertising businesses, has succeeded in a claim against New South Wales based marketing business, Senses Direct Mail and Fulfillment Pty Ltd (Senses Direct), for trade mark infringement. Trade mark infringement In a judgment delivered on 24 May 2019, Davies J found that the following marks […]

Read more

Who’s who in the zoo – how independent is your Australian IP attorney (part 2)

Posted on BY Fiona Trethewey

Concerns in Australia and New Zealand around conflicts arising from the new business model of publicly listed companies acquiring multiple Australian and New Zealand IP firms have continued to increase over the past 12 months. As you may recall, these concerns are centered on the independence of these firms, conflict issues and disclosure to clients […]

Read more

Trade mark ownership: do you really own your trade mark?

Posted on BY Fiona Trethewey

The case of Pham Global Pty Ltd v Insight Clinical Imaging Pty Ltd [2017] FCAFC 83 has raised significant interest regarding trade mark ownership and the circumstances in which ownership may be challenged.  In Pham, the Full Court of the Federal Court held that the requirement for trade mark ownership must be satisfied at the […]

Read more

Standing out from the crowd – protecting a unique home

Posted on BY Fiona Trethewey

CASE NOTE: Coles v Dormer & Ors (No 2) [2016] QSC 28  The Supreme Court of Queensland recently awarded damages to a homeowner whose unique house was copied by some neighbours. The facts Mr Coles bought a unique house in a compound at an auction in Queensland. The Dormers were unsuccessful bidders in this auction. […]

Read more

Unconscionable conduct: ACCC cleans up franchisor

Posted on BY Fiona Trethewey

The Federal Court has again reminded us that the law will step in to defend franchisees who have suffered at the hands of overzealous franchisors. The Court recently found that an experienced franchisor, South East Melbourne Cleaning (South East) engaged in unconscionable conduct in its dealings with franchisees and contravened section 21 of the Australian […]

Read more