Monday, 19 April 2010

Trademark Infringement or Fair Use

Today I received a virtual knock on my door from a courier announcing that there was a parcel from the ALH Group; the joint venture between Woolworths Limited and Bruce Mathieson's interests. Readers of this blog will recall that I have respectfully requested that this group implement effective measures to eliminate the presence of children in their venues for over two years. Here's a copy of the letter I signed for: Please click on the image to read the letter. It complains that I have used ALH trademark without consent and threatens legal proceedings should I not remove it from this blog.

You can see that the letter does not refer to where the trademark has been used. I reviewed all my blogs and the only place it clearly appears is on the business card reproduced on the blog titled "Who Runs The Rex". On that blog The Rex business card was reproduced solely to support my argument that The Rex is run by the ALH Group and, therefore; they were responsible for the unaccompanied children being inside the pokie club.

It is clear that I was not claiming to be or speaking on behalf of the ALH Group. Nor was I pretending to be the ALH Group or trying to sell anything. There was no deceptive conduct. No defamatory statements were made about the ALH Group's trademark. Given the numerous inquiries, academic papers, government studies and the Productivity Commission report, the discussion of the regulation of gambling is in the public interest.

There was criticism of the conduct of The Rex pokie club. It remains my view that it is not a place for children. No question about that.

If ALH Group are successful, then any trademark owner could restrain any comment that involves their use of their trademark. This would result in all news or commentary being prohibited from showing a company's trademark unless there was prior consent. There could be no Gruen Transfer, no Media Watch, no Top Gear, no consumer reports.

No broadcast news.

No newspapers.

No critical expression of opinion whatsoever.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paul. You are doing a great job keeping the issues moving forward and if deleting the trademark protected image of the business card means you save your time and energy for the main issues, then why not just delete the image of the business card from the blog. Your effort is about fixing pokies harm, not fair use law for trademarks in Australia.

John Forrester said...

You really had faced an awkward situation.But you took very intelligent steps to fight the situation. And its very appreciable.So,What's the trademark status of ALH group and your company at present?