Australia: Middletons wins trade mark ruling for Digital Post Australia
Last Updated: 25 August 2012

Middletons has successfully defended Digital Post Australia in trade mark infringement proceedings bought against it by Australia Post.

The court's decision dismissed claims made by Australia Post of trade mark infringement and passing off. The court also dismissed allegations that Digital Post Australia had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct that it was affiliated with Australia Post by marketing its proposed service from the Digital Post Australia website.

Middletons lead partner and specialist intellectual property litigation lawyer, Chris Round said "the court ruling shows our client had acted in good faith in choosing its name for a digital postbox, which will be provided free to Australian consumers in late 2012."

"The court concluded that there was no real, tangible danger of deception or confusion and that the ordinary consumer would not entertain a reasonable doubt about the origin of Digital Post Australia's services", added Mr Round.

Digital Post Australia was launched in March 2012 as a joint venture between Computershare, Salmat and US based technology company Zumbox Software.

Digital Post Australia will allow consumers to receive their essential mail digitally in one central, online and secure location. The service will make it simple and convenient to organise, manage and store consumer mail. The service also allows for bill payment reminders.

The court found that while Australia Post has a statutory monopoly over the physical delivery of letters, it is not yet associated in the minds of potential consumers with the delivery of digital mail.

Mr Round commented, "Digital Post Australia always sought to distinguish itself from Australia Post while using its descriptive name to market its services. We are excited to have assisted Digital Post Australia in defending this proceeding and look forward to working with them to develop their business in the coming years."

Chairman of Digital Post Australia, David Hynes was very pleased with the court's decision saying, "despite the proceedings, we have remained focused on moving our business forward and have made substantial progress toward reaching our business objective of delivering the first and best digital postal service to Australians. We expect to announce some important developments in the coming weeks that will further demonstrate the strength of our market position."

Salmat and Computershare, two of Australia's largest business communications companies, have recently completed integration with Digital Post Australia. With the completion of this integration, mail senders can quickly and easily deploy this dynamic channel and realise the many economic and consumer benefits of digital postal mail.

The full service is expected to launch to consumers later this year.

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