The Australian Trade Mark Office has recently accepted Trademark Application No. 1577707, which is a three dimensional shape trademark in the shape of the Sydney Oper House (and owned by the Sydney Opera House Trust). The trademark has been accepted for registration in 17 classes of goods. Provided the trademark is not opposed, it will be registered in late March 2014.
The Sydney Opera House Trust have over 40 trade marks registered in Australia in relation to the Sydney Opera House, including a two dimensional trade mark of the Opera House itself, as well as various logos and stylised forms of the Opera House.
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The Sydney Opera House Trust have taken a major step in preventing others from using the Sydney Opera House shape on a number of goods including jewellery, printed matter, bags, household utensils, clothing and games (to name but a few). The shape trademark appears to be an attempt to control use of the Sydney Opera House image/shape, particularly in relation to souvenirs.
In Australia, shape trademarks are quite common for consumer items such as perfume bottles and drink bottles, but there are relatively few shape trademarks for buildings.
However, the Sydney Opera House is not the first building in Australia to be registered as a shape trademark, that honour belongs to Muzz Buzz Coffee who have a distinctly shaped drive through coffee building (Australian Trade Mark 1440795).
Should the Opera House shape trademark be registered, the Sydney Opera House Trust will have a further weapon to take action against unauthorised use of the Sydney Opera House shape/image.
What might constitute infringement of the shape will be depend on the circumstances but but those wishing to use the Sydney Opera House as part of a product for commercial use will need to seek authorisation from the Sydney Opera House Trust (such as like Lego have done with their Lego Sydney Opera House).
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Below are a number of other trademarks owned by the Sydney Opera House Trust.
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