The Melbourne Cricket Ground, commonly known as the MCG (sometimes shortened to the “G”) and occasionally referred to as “the peoples ground” is one of the largest and most famous sports stadiums in the southern hemisphere. Its custodians, the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) is a club which was founded in 1838 and is one of the oldest sporting clubs in Australia.

Over the years, the MCC have sought trademark protection for a number of trademarks relating to the ground:

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Bay 13

Membership to the MCC is highly sought after in Melbourne and there is a long waiting list (currently 20+ years) to join.  Full membership entitles members to entry into an exclusive part of the ground, the “Members Reserve”.  Dress standards apply and members must behave in a manner becoming to the club.

Directly opposite the Members Reserve is an area of the ground (known to most Australians as Bay 13) which is open to the general public and (during the summer at least) is bathed in sun for most of the day.  This generally results in what could best be described as “overly refreshed” patrons.

It would be fair to say that the behaviour of the patrons in Bay 13 is at odds with that of the patrons of the Members Reserve, with inebriation, Mexican waves and beer snakes par for the course.

Bay 13 is probably most well-known for the mimicking of exercises of cricket players positioned on the boundary in the “third man” position. Famously, the Bay 13 crowd would mimic the stretch actions of former Australian fast bowler Mervyn “Merve” Hughes.

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Trademark: Bay 13

Given the above, it may be somewhat of a surprise to some people (but not to trademark attorneys) to learn that the MCC have applied to register Bay 13 as a trademark. The application is currently pending and the MCC have recently overcome at least one hurdle in achieving registration, namely the removal of an existing registration for Bay 13 LOGO, filed by (we assume) some entrepreneurial Bay 13 enthusiasts in 2004.

Under the Australian Trade Marks Act 1995, trademarks which have not been used are vulnerable to removal for non-use.  The successful removal of Bay 13 LOGO for non-use by the MCC should clear the path for MCC’s registration of Bay 13 as a trademark.

Not surprisingly, the Melbourne Cricket Club has registered the mark in respect of paper products, clothing, games, entertainment and providing food and drink services.

Comment

Given the notoriety, it is somewhat surprising that the MCC only filed to protect BAY 13 in 2012.  It appears it may now have plans to exploit the brand – and but for the successful non-use action, it may have missed out on this opportunity.

It is worthwhile obtaining professional advice and preferably conducting regular Intellectual Property (IP) audits to ensure your organisation’s trade marks are identified and protected before another party beats you to it.