Augusta National Inc v Dennis Roy [2018] ATMO 199

In this matter, Augusta National Inc opposed a trade mark application by Dennis Roy for the below logo trade mark.

The application covers the provision of information about a range of topics, including sports.

The opponent operates The Masters golf tournament and it led evidence of the reputation that it holds in ‘The Masters’, including in Australia where the annual tournament is screened live on Australian television, and has been since the 1980s.

For its evidence, the applicant detailed its use of the trade mark since March 1990, in connection with its own golf tournament.

The Hearing Officer noted the placement of the golfer within the applicant’s trade mark served to emphasise ‘The Masters’ as a separate element, as well as the green colour, which is the colour adopted by the opponent for the jacket given to the winner of its golf tournament.

On review of the evidence filed, the Hearing Officer came to the view that the opponent did establish that it has a ‘significant’ reputation in Australia in the name ‘The Masters’ in connection with its golf tournament. Having established reputation, the Hearing Officer, when considering the full scope of the applicant’s services and the trade mark itself, was satisfied that a reasonably significant number of persons would likely be misled or deceived by the use/registration of the applicant’s trade mark.

Given the above, the Hearing Officer was satisfied that the use/registration of the applicant’s trade mark would be contrary to section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law and, as such, the opponent’s opposition under section 42(b) was successful.