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Trademark Applications


(It is my assumption that the flag is more expensive than it otherwise would be because of the ownership. A licensing contract would presumably not exist if there were no money to be made.)

It is not wrong for the owner to want to profit from and indeed to profit from being the owner.

It is wrong, in my opinion, for an official flag of Australia to be in private ownership. This status as an official flag of Australia is one of the reasons you “see the flag all over the place”. That is funded by me :slight_smile: and I am complaining about the price.


Where do you see the aboriginal flag flown? I am aware of a few places, but the place I see it most is online - where it is being used to show that an entity is based in the aboriginal community and/or supports the aboriginal community.

So you want the Australian government to expropriate private property without compensation? There’s a clause in the constitution that specifically forbids that, for good reason.

In hindsight, maybe there should have been a competition to choose the Aboriginal Flag, and the winner would cede rights into the public domain in exchange for a prize (monetary, presumably). That didn’t happen, and wishing it did happen will not change the situation. The owner of the intellectual property is well within his rights to licence that property; while taxpayers or a philanthropist could have stepped forward to place the flag into the public domain (or limited public domain to prevent misuse), for the moment those licences are controlled by commercial operations that presumably offered more to the IP holder than any other bidders.

I am not arguing the merits of whether the rights should not be in private ownership; I am merely pointing out that since that is not the case there are only a few ways to change it - and you have already ruled out the obvious one, of taxpayers paying for those rights.


No. I am aware that it is likely to be unconstitutional to do so and nor did I suggest or imply that course of action.

A couple of courses of action that are legally OK and available without the benefit of hindsight

  • a private entity or group of individuals buys out the owner in order to put the design into the public domain
  • amend the legislation to avoid this problem in the future
  • strip the flag of its official status (I think this is legally OK)


We often see it flown…especially at government (local, state and commonwealth) offices, schools and such like. Wven openings to things where they have a welcome to land address, the flag us often also flying or shown.


It appears that the issue of the Aboriginal flag copyright is not done and dusted just yet.


Linda Burney may be well intentioned but she doesn’t always have the most practical approach to problem solving. Let us see what Mr Thomas and WAM work out before getting too excited.


Another article regarding the EU demanding Australian producers stop using names that use European “geographical indicators”.

The Australian producers are struggling to come up with alternative names but I will try to help them out.

“Clean & Green”.

“True Blue”.

“Dinky Di”.

“Safe To Eat”

Ridgey Didge".

“EU Pollution Free”.


Seriously? I realise that the EU demands are a little annoying, but manufacturers change labels and product names regularly!


More a free trade issue?

With the EU noted for playing games with subsidies that deliver products into Australia at substantial discounts to local production, does it matter what the trade name of their agricultural products are?

Providing the most prominent mark on the produce is “Product of Europe” I’ll know which products to avoid.


Mu understanding is that they are not referring to the cost of changing the labels but on their expected loss of sales when existing customers no longer recognise their products and new customers avoid them as they do not associate them with being the same, or better, than the EU products but with a different name…


Why not just use some smarts in the labeling and marketing.

“Great Australian …XYZ… Sparkling Wine” - 9 out of 10 Australian’s agree more sparkle than the
Champagne region of France.

I’m sure there are ways to relate what the Aussie versions of European products are and how good they are.

Or am I being too silly?


Couldn’t they add something like “Similar to the “xxxx” variety of xyz product from xyz region” or “Made similar to the xyz variety”.


We already have ‘made by the champagne method’, or ‘methode champenoise’ , or ‘bottle fermented’.


Getting a bit ridiculous and a bit annoying.

How about the Australian government proposes to ban all the disputed geographical names? Level playing field. Every producer is going to have to change the name of the product - and lose the product recognition in the process.


Australia has its own, one which has been contested in the past is the Coonawarra wine region. There have been wineries just outside the edge of the mapped wine region which have had action taken against them for use of the name Coonawarra because they are not within the Coonawarra region The region is very protective of its terrior, thus vineyards outside the region can’t claim to be from the Coonawarra.

What the EU proposes is no different to which has occurred in Australia.

Australia in the past has overcome any changes in name usage…often to the benefit of Australian products as one then can easily determine the Aussie product when compared to the foreign/imported product.


It was more a case of proposing it in order to stop the EU from being so ridiculous - and the EU is disputing names like fetta, so those are disputed by the EU whereas Coonawarra is not disputed by the EU.

If the EU succeeds in this, can I send them the bill for reprinting and repurchasing all cookbooks that reference disputed ingredients?


You don’t get too many arguments when a regional name indicates only a geographical source of food or drink, arguing to be able to use that location when your product doesn’t come from there is rather silly. Oh that it was so simple.

In the way of things regional names gain greater meaning over time. They start to signify a certain grade and style of product that is peculiar to that region and then the fact that it is a place name is lost and the symbol represents things less tangible. When the name becomes a valuable trade name with a reputation those who think they have a right to that value get very defensive. What is wrong with that?

Well take it the next step to where the name signifies a category of product that may once have been just a region but now is not. How can you claim exclusive rights to making a certain category of product? We protect with patent a design or process, intellectual property gives some rights to the owner but we are talking about the name of something that many people have the ability and opportunity to produce. The dispute is about the name not the (re)production.

This is related to trademarks that become diluted because the meaning moves from a product that was the name of the eponymous originator to a generic object. So Zamboni was a man’s name that became a generic term for an ice rink groomer. Mr Jacuzzi was a man, now jacuzzi means hot tub. Ditto Hoover, Yale, etc. $$$ Apparently Coca Cola go to a great deal of effort to prevent their brand names from sliding down this path. Should it be agreed that Coke means any cola drink they have just lost their trade name.

So we get to conflicts like the one over the name Prosecco. It is a grape variety and a region and those in Italy who have moved that along now want to own it exclusively. Except that they were not the only ones to work of the use of the variety and developing it into a recognised style … see you in court.

So how do you distinguish between a name that has become common usage, a word that anybody may use, and one that is a trade name that only certain people may use? As usual the people who will make the most out of such a dispute are the professional word choppers.

$$$ I have no idea if these names are now in the public domain or not, I just wanted to use well known ones to illustrate the process.


Also you don’t need to get bogged down in any of this if the product description is misleading. If you describe something as Greek fetta, the ACCC might well say that it has to come from Greece otherwise that is misleading. If you describe it as Australian fetta, that should be fine.

I agree that this isn’t black and white. I used the example of “fetta” because it is not a region - and the EU is appealing to more nebulous associations with a word, such as you are suggesting, but which I am rejecting. That or the EU is just being the EU, petty and bureaucratic.

It’s complicated though because many Australians / English speakers may not associate the same things with a name that the EU does e.g. champagne, prosecco, sherry. To someone in the EU maybe they are regional. To us, nah. We got on just fine for decades drinking champagne that is not from Champagne.

By accepting the minimum of BS from the word choppers - tell the manufacturer to produce a better product rather than a better lawyer. Unless the name is a registered trademark in Australia.


A straight forward response, but would it be a diplomatic response in trade negotiations?

Is Australia the taker or the giver when it comes to negotiating with the EU might be the better test?

In the mean time it’s not that hard to fit in?

  1. ‘Australian cheese, in the style of Greek Fetta’
  2. ‘Australian bred Puppies genetically related to spotted dogs from Dalmatia’
  3. ‘Member of the Australian Federal Parliament, of Chinese heritage, naturalised and Section 44 compliant’

Or is it?


In reality you are right. Logic goes out the window and it all comes down to negotiation. I would guess that the EU has greater bargaining power.

  1. The artist formerly known as Prince

tell the manufacturer to produce a better product rather than a better lawyer.

might well be satisfactory from a consumer perspective - and that is really my perspective. When a manufacturer chooses to litigate rather than innovate it is unlikely to benefit the consumer.