previous article, we discussed the matter of Mantra IP Pty
Ltd v Spagnuolo  FCA 769 and how trade mark
registrations can be used to protect building names. This article
broadly revisits that topic, taking a brief look at a recent UK
trade marks dispute and its local relevance.
The recent branding dispute between Battersea Project Land
Company (BPLC), a company redeveloping the
Battersea Power Station site and Urban Lettings, a London based
real estate agency, has been the subject of media attention lately.
The dispute serves to remind property owners of the value in
carefully considering how to protect the identities of their
properties and associated brands.
Battersea Power Station is a decommissioned coal-fired power
station located in South London that was built in the 1930s and is
perhaps most famous for its iconic four brick chimneys that feature
on the cover of English rock band Pink Floyd's 1977 Animals
BPLC, the registered owner of a UK trade mark registration for
BATTERSEA POWER STATION sent a letter to Urban Lettings demanding
that Urban Lettings remove the silhouette of Battersea Power
Station from its company masthead.
BPLC contended that Urban Lettings' use of the silhouette of
Battersea Power Station in its company logo constituted a
misrepresentation that Urban Lettings was associated with or
otherwise connected to BPLC, which it is not. According to the
reports, Urban Lettings seems to be resigned to acceding to
BPLC's demands and has indicated that it will be re-branding
minus the Battersea Power Station silhouette.
The circumstances of the dispute should prompt property owners
to carefully consider what protection may be available to safeguard
the identity of their properties from third parties that may seek
to capitalise on recognition without authorisation.
In Australia, a trade mark is defined as a sign used, or
intended to be used, to distinguish goods or services dealt with or
provided in the course of trade by a person from goods or services
so dealt with or provided by any other person. Signs can include
any letter, word, name, signature, numeral, device, brand, heading,
label, ticket, aspect of packaging, shape, colour, sound or
This means that property owners may be able to obtain protection
for the name, image, logo, silhouette or shape of their property,
or feature part thereof, provided the trade mark applied for meets
the requirements for registration under the Trade Marks Act. It is
worth noting that the Sydney Opera House Trust is the registered
owner of a number of trade marks that protect the name and image of
the iconic Sydney Opera House.
If the circumstances of the UK situation were applied in
Australia, the Australian Consumer Law would likely provide some
protection against misleading conduct. However, if a property owner
also owned trade mark registrations for the name, image, logo,
silhouette or shape of their property, they would be in a better
It is always worthwhile considering what is really valuable: is
it the name, or a particular image associated with the
As the name, logo, image, silhouette and even shape of a
building or property may be able to be protected as a trade mark,
property owners should consider whether they ought to seek such
protection in their particular circumstances.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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