Expert tips on protecting smart ideas

Tuesday 26 April, 2016 | By: Darrell Giles | Tags: patents, trade marks, brand strategy, red wax tip bananas;

You’ve all seen those red wax-tipped bananas in stores and on the supermarket shelves.

Well they are the brainchild of one of our members, Pacific Coast Produce and its owners Frank and Dianne Sciacca.

red tip bananas

And our trade mark and patent partners Cullens helped in terms of a brand strategy and protecting what was something unique to this business.

A signature that sends a message

Frank and Dianne Sciacca are the North Queensland farmers behind Pacific Coast Produce. This small, North Queensland business is becoming internationally recognised for their Eco Bananas also known as the “Wax Tip Bananas”, in which the banana is dipped in a non-toxic, food grade wax, similar to that used on cheeses.

According to Frank and Dianne: “This wax tip is our way of letting you know that any fruit which bears the wax tip (red, pink, green or blue), is grown to the highest eco-growing standard in the world”.

The desire to create a sustainable system

After decades of farming, Frank and Dianne saw the harm that was being caused to the environment by the use of chemicals.

They started to question the impact of traditional farming methods in relation to the taste of the fruit, the shelf life, and the health of the soil, insects, animals and nearby waterways.

To address these issues in a financially viable way was a challenge, but Frank was determined to develop a scientifically monitorable system that would maintain a balanced ecological environment.

In 2000, after two years of research and fine-tuning the Ecoganic™ and patent pending farming system, the Sciacca’s got their distinctive red tipped bananas on to the market.

An overwhelmingly positive response to their eco-friendly product meant that they could no longer supply enough bananas to meet consumer demand and so they decided to share their methods with other farmers wanting to practice sustainable agriculture.

Today, Frank and Dianne are joined by five family-owned farms who are Ecoganic™ Certified growers, together producing over 1000 acres of Eco Bananas and Eco Papaya (with potentially more categories to come).

In order that the produce be easily recognisable and further, that a potential purchaser would know that the red-tipped bananas come from one of the farms which adhere to the growing protocol, the red-tip banana was born.

The distinctive tip allows the produce to be easily distinguished from other produce in the shop.

Creating a strong brand that is instantly recognisable to buyers wanting quality, sustainably farmed produce has been incredibly valuable to Pacific Coast Produce.

More recently, they have obtained even broader Australian trade mark rights over all colour coatings applied to a piece of fruit or vegetable.

The lesson

When it comes to branding, many things that you may not consider to be a part of your brand strategy can actually become things that distinguish your business from others.

As with the case above, you may be able to identify your products or services in ways that are unique and if so, you may be able to protect these methods of distinguishing your products or services.

Usually, the things that make you different from your competitors are at least a part of the reason that your customers buy from you.

If you can, isn’t it worth protecting that?


If you have any questions about protecting the features of your product, please do not hesitate to contact Regan Gourley at

To hear more from Regan regarding intellectual property and your business, please [register here] to join the May 13 webinar jointly presented by CCIQ and Cullens Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys.


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