Apple wins IBAD case in Australia

Wednesday 22nd January 2014

We recently reported a New Zealand Intellectual Property Office decision in which Apple,Inc was unable to prevent registration of the trade mark Driphone.  It has fared better in a recent decision in Australia, where it has been able to prevent registration of the trade mark IBAD for electronic information display terminals.

The applicant was Metropage Pty Ltd. Its products were free standing or shop front window-mounted devices for public access.  It said that IBAD was short for “Interactive Business Advertising Display.  There was one example of the use of such a device in the evidence, where the trade mark used was iBAD.

Apple opposed registration on the basis of its iPad trade mark.  The iPad device was launched in Australia in May 2010.  The IBAD application was filed a mere 15 months late in October 2011.  It is testament to the power of Apple in such a short time by that time even Metropage had to acknowledge that the IPAD mark was one of the world’s most famous brands: 250,000 IPAD devices were sold in the first six months following release in Australia.

The applicant argued that the goods were different and consumers would not be confused. The IP Australia Hearing Officer was not however convinced: the only example of Metropage’s products was a rectangular screen device, which he considered to be very similar to Apple’s iPad.

He found that the IBAD mark was visually and aurally very similar to Apple’s iPad mark and that consumers would be caused to wonder that there was a connection or that the Opponent marketed or endorsed goods bearing the IBAD mark.

Registration of the mark was therefore refused under section 60 of the Australian Trade Marks Act.

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