Court finds Digital Post joint venture by Salmat and Computershare does not infringe Australia Post’s trademark

Communications and technology companies Computershare and Salmat have successfully defended a claim by Australia Post that their joint venture – Digital Post Australia – infringes Australia Post’s trademarks.

Digital Post Australia hasn’t even been released yet, but both companies say it’s a “free online postal service” which allows you to receive all your essential post mail in a “secure online location”.

“The offering allows consumers to receive their important postal mail, such as bills, statements, insurance documents, government mail, stock and brokerage disclosures and annual reports in one central and secure online location.”

Australia Post argued the name constituted trademark infringement, along with misleading and deceptive conduct and passing off.

However, the Federal Court has said these claims were “without merit”.

“It is difficult to imagine that anyone who is competent with computer technology will have any doubt that Digital Post Australia is separate and distinct from Australia Post,” the court found.

There were signs of a positive outcome for Computershare and Salmat of the case back in April, when Judge Marshall found the disclosure at the bottom of the Digital Post website saying it is not associated with Australia Post would not cause confusion.

“The material before me indicates that there is a very weak case as far as Australia Post’s misleading or deceptive conduct claim is concerned,” he said.

The statement was made after Australia Post pushed for an interlocutory injunction.

Australia Post said this morning it was “obviously disappointed” in the outcome.

“We will take time to consider the judgement and our appeal to prevent third parties from using an Australian owned, trusted brand for their commercial gain.”

Digital Post Australia chairman David Hynes told SmartCompany this morning the venture is “pleased” with the decision.

“We were always confident this would be the decision…ever since the hearing earlier in the year. But it’s good this is now final, and we can move forward in what we’re doing.”

Both Salmat and Computershare are working with a US-based company, Zumbox. The trio aren’t revealing anything about how the system works, but it is due for release before the end of the year.




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