On appeal, the Full Federal Court supported enforcement of the HARBOUR LIGHTS trademark covering a residential apartment complex, owned by Accor Australia and New Zealand Hospitality Pty Limited (Accor).Accor’s HARBOUR LIGHTS trademark covered “Agency services for the leasing of real estate properties, commercial real estate agency services, apartment letting agency, apartment rental services, rental of apartments, rental of accommodation.”
The other party, Elise Bradnam registered similar domain names ‘Cairnsharbourlights.com.au’, ‘harbourlightscairns.com.au’ and ‘harbourlightscairns.com‘.
Elise traded as Harbour Lights Property Management and Sales, and let out apartments under this brand. Her websites went live in October 2006 and she later sold the business in September 2009 to Liv Pty Ltd who provided short-term letting services in competition with Accor.
The Court found infringement by Liv occurred by using Accor’s trademark ‘Harbour Lights’, or close variants in:
1. The domain names “cairnsharbourlights.com.au”; “harbourlightscairns.com.au” and “harbourlightscairns.com”,
2. by using “Harbour Lights Cairns” on other websites,
3. in advertisements, email addresses and listings on third-party accommodation booking sites, and
4. found use of ‘Harbour Lights’ as a metatag to be infringing.
So for all those google SEO people, look out when using a trademark in a metatag if owned by someone else. These are keywords (often unseen when you view a website) but are visible when read by google and other search engines to rank a website.Our firm has registered building names as trademarks.
To register your trademark, or identify if there are infringement issues in a proposed brand, or if you have any concerns with your brands, please fill out this form to have them assessed.
This article does not constitute advice, and is generic in nature. You should seek advice from a Patent and Trademark Attorney before acting.