‘I’m an Australian citizen and I have a right to use this’: Australia’s trademark lawyer warns of ‘unconstitutional’ trademark crackdown
A trademark lawyer has warned that Australian citizens could face “unconstitutional” trademark seizures if laws are changed to target US companies operating in the country.
Key points:The Australian Government is considering whether to impose a US-style ‘unfair competition’ law to deal with US companies in the UK’s trademark systemThe UK government is considering making a new UK law on the subject after Donald Trump’s winA US-based company is being investigated for using its trademark in Australia’s national parks and beachesThe Australian government is also considering changes to its trademark laws, which could lead to “unfair” trademark enforcement actions if proposed by the US government, a UK law firm says.
The Australian Office of Fair Trading (AoT) said in a report released on Monday that it was reviewing the potential use of US trademarks in the trademark area, which is administered by the Australian Government.
“The US Government has repeatedly asserted that the use of their trademark to sell products and services in Australia is unlawful, and has used this power to challenge our use of the trademark in the United States, including on our websites,” the AOT said.
“A number of Australian businesses have been challenged in the US on the basis of their US-related products or services, including the use or sale of trademarks or trade marks in the Commonwealth of Australia.”
The UK Government has said it would consider the move, which would potentially affect about 20,000 trademark owners in the EU.
“We have been clear from the start that we are committed to continuing to support US businesses in the global marketplace,” a spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said.
AoTS also warned that some US businesses were using their trademarks in Australia, which has a history of trademark disputes.
A spokesman for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner said the AoT was “considering” the proposal.””
This could result in substantial damages and could even result in the expropriation of the trademarks by the United State Government.”
A spokesman for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner said the AoT was “considering” the proposal.
“As a result of the US election, the Government is reviewing the use and protection of US and Australian trademarks in Australian legislation,” a spokesman said.
“We welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with the Government.”
The US election was the first since President Donald Trump took office, and there has been no change in the political landscape in the weeks since the US voted to oust Mr Trump from office.
Australian President Boris Johnson has also faced a challenge in the lead up to the vote, with his name used in advertisements to promote his proposed ban on immigrants from certain Muslim countries.AOTS warned that the changes to the Australian trademark law could have a “catastrophic impact” on the ability of Australian companies to protect their trademarks.
“These changes will lead to significant costs for the Australian economy, businesses and consumers,” the watchdog said.
Australia’s National Parks and Marine Services (NPMS) has also been criticised for failing to protect trademarks.
Mr Johnson has called for the changes, which are expected to be discussed in the coming weeks, to be “reviewed and considered in full”.