LUCKY NUMBER 7: SEVEN AND 7-ELEVEN IN TRADEMARK WAR?

Seven West Media, commonly known as the Channel 7 Network, has recently filed federal court proceedings against global convenience franchise 7-Eleven for the registration of their recent Australian trademark enticing a ‘war’ of the number 7.

In 2018,7-Eleven registered a number of local trademarks in Australia. The trademarks included ‘7 FRESH’, ‘7 CONNECT’ and ‘7 SELECT’. The Channel 7 Network claim that the use of the number ‘7’ without the word ‘Eleven’ has become synonymous in Australia with the Channel 7 Network which has caused disadvantage to Channel 7 and confusion.

Channel 7 further claims that although the trademarks have successfully been registered by 7-Eleven, they have not been used since their registration. Channel 7 regards the actions of 7-Eleven to register and then fail to use the trademark as not acting in good faith.

This is not the first time that the two companies have initiated proceedings against each other for the use of the lucky (or unlucky) number 7. In 2013, Channel 7 registered ‘7NOW’ for broadcasting and entertainment services. In July 2020, 7-Eleven applied to register the trademark ‘7NOW’ and ‘7 Now Device’ for its online delivery system. 7-Eleven’s trademarks were dismissed as they were too similar to Channel 7’s. 7-Eleven then commenced proceedings against Channel 7 for their non-use of the trademark and won. Channel 7 is appealing this decision.

Why is there all this fuss over a trademark?

Trademarks are the marks that are unique and relevant to identifying your brand. In Australia, trademarks are recognised through their registration. Registration of a trademark gives you the exclusive use of that mark.

A trademark can be a logo, word, phrase, number, jingle etc. It is not a business name, company name or domain name and registration of a business and/or company name is not enough to create a trademark.

As a trademark gives you the exclusive use of a logo, work, phrase, number etc., it is important that this right is protected. Otherwise, others can use your identifying feature. After all, Nike wouldn’t be Nike without the familiar and synonymous tick, would it?

Removing a Trademark

Registered trademarks last for 10 years. However, applications can be made to remove a registered trademark.

Trademarks can be removed if the owner is not using their trademark. The applicant must show that the owner of the trademark has no intention to use the trademark in good faith and that they had not used it for a period of 3 years (depending on when the trademark was registered).

It will be interesting to see Channel 7’s claims come to light as the trademark wars continue. Watch this space!

Written by Elyse Strahan from Coutts Lawyers and Conveyancers. You can follow Coutts Lawyers on Instagram and Facebook.

About Elyse Strahan:

Elyse is a lawyer at Coutts Lawyers and Conveyancers and has recently been admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Elyse studied Law and Psychological Science at UNSW. Whilst she studied, she continued to work with the Coutts team as a paralegal assisting in the areas of Commercial LawProperty LawDisputes and Wills and Estates.

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This blog is merely general and non-specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.

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