The Agatha Christie trademark that expired

Agatha Christie Ltd keeps a tight control over its trademarks. In Australia alone it currently has 10 trademarks registered with IP Australia, and it renews those regularly. Here’s a list of all of them and when they’re next due for renewal.

TrademarkRenewal due
Miss Marple22 Jul 2025
Murder On The Orient Express4 Jul 2027
Marple4 Jul 2027
Death On The Nile4 Apr 2028
Witness For The Prosecution5 Apr 2028
Poirot22 Nov 2030
Miss Marple31 May 2033
And Then There Were None31 May 2033
Agatha Christie31 May 2033
Agatha Christie (signature)31 May 2033

Observant readers will note “Miss Marple” appears twice. All these registrations cover three classes of goods: 9, 16 and 41 (which broadly include books, movies, TV shows, stationery, computer games, education and a few other categories). The Miss Marple that falls due in 2025 only covers class 16, but includes a longer list of subcategories than the broader registration, which essentially only covers stationery. Looks like someone didn’t put in a detailed enough list the first time around.

But that’s not the biggest evident glitch. One trademark has actually been allowed to expire: the somewhat lengthy Agatha Christie The Poirot Collection. This was registered in January 2007, but the renewal was not paid for in 2017.

At first glance I thought this might have been a deliberate decision not to renew, since the branding was used for a DVD series, and DVD sales have been declining rapidly in recent years.

However, on checking the parallel UK trademarks registry, the trademark has been renewed there, and next falls due on 27 September 2025. So the Australian lapse looks like an error rather than a strategic move.

Does this mean anyone can run wild now and use the label “Agatha Christie The Poirot Collection” in Australia? Doubtful.

The company still holds the trademarks for Christie’s name and for Poirot, and it keeps producing new Poirot adaptations. So while pre-1928 Christie titles are now in the public domain in the US and freely reprinted, I don’t think we’ll see that label used for any collections of them.

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