Due to a glitch in the software that delivered latest cases to my desk, I have missed out on reporting some relevant, recent cases.  I will attend to that over the next few weeks to clear that backlog. In the meantime, today I can report on an interesting matter involving Fire Rescue Victoria – Fire Rescue Victoria v CBS (Aust) Pty Ltd [2022] ATMO 209.

ATMO is the Australian Trade Marks Office. In this case CBS (Aust) Pty Ltd wanted to register as trade marks, logos that they printed on t-shirts and other clothing.  The sort of images that they used, and wanted to register are shown below. 

Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) opposed the application.

An issue was whether the term ‘Fire Rescue’ on the applicant’s range of clothing was obviously a trade mark (eg a brand name on the label) intended to distinguish the applicant’s clothing from the products of others.   An example of one of the applicant’s t-shirts is shown below:

The applicant provided ([35]):

… links to websites showing t-shirts bearing the words ‘FIRE RESCUE’ typically on the left breast (essentially the same design t-shirt in the image reproduced, above). Other images show hoodies bearing the ‘MELBOURNE FIRE RESCUE’ logo shown above. These images do not demonstrate use of FIRE RESCUE in a manner which is likely to be seen as a trade mark and, consequently, do not assist the Applicant.

In other words, the use of the words ‘Fire Rescue’ were not clearly intended to distinguish the brand of the applicant’s products from those of others, but was designed (at [18]) to appeal to ‘24–49 year old males, particularly those with interests including … the fire brigade and trades …’.  It did not distinguish the applicant’s product from those of others, including Fire Rescue Victoria.

The Delegate agreed with Fire Rescue Victoria and refused to register the Trade Mark.

This blog is made possible with generous financial support from the Australasian College of Paramedicine, the Australian Paramedics Association (NSW), Natural Hazards Research Australia, NSW Rural Fire Service Association and the NSW SES Volunteers Association. I am responsible for the content in this post including any errors or omissions. Any opinions expressed are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or understanding of the donors.