In September of this year, the Trade Marks Amendment (Iconic Symbols of National Identity) Bill was introduced to Parliament by Federal MP Bob Katter. The Bill proposes the introduction for a new ground for rejecting a trade mark application if the trade mark consists of a sign that is of iconic value and national significance, for Australians.
In a press release, Mr Katter stated that emblems such as Ned Kelly, The Man from the Snowy River, a boomerang or the rising sun badge, were examples of icons that should not be converted into property rights. While this seems like a fair proposal, the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill fails to provide any guidance as to why it would constitute a sign of national significance. However, there has been the suggestion that a special committee be introduced to make these types of determinations that mirrors the Maori Trade Marks Advisory Committee that decides whether registered or proposed trade marks are offensive to Maori.
As it currently stands, the proposed amendment has been vague about some important issues that should be addressed;
We can see how more detail and transparency is necessary before a proper analysis of Mr Katters proposal can be performed. Stay tuned for the developments of this Bill!