AusPost takes rival to court over alleged infringement

In the wake of the departure of Ahmed Fahour as CEO, the drama at Australia Post is not yet over.
The national delivery company has now taken rival Sendle to court, asserting ownership of the terms ‘post’ and ‘office’.
Australia Post is going after Sendle – which was founded in 2014 and offers Australia-wide flat-rate delivery charges – for trademark infringement due to the wording of its slogan, ‘post without the office’.
Sendle CEO, James Chin Moody, told The Australian, “Australia Post says customers would get confused by having post and office together in the same tag line, but consumers are a lot smarter than that.
“They’re making the case they own the word ‘post’ – they even brought out the Oxford dictionary definition at one stage.
“But I think it’s showing we’re successful. What we’re doing is creating a service that people want but also is different to everything they don’t want, which is lining up at the post office and all the inconvenience associated with that.”
Moody, a former CSIRO executive, stated that IP Australia is now making its determination and could take up to three months to make an adjudication.
“It’s been fascinating to see the amount of support we’ve received,” he added. “A lot of the community is saying ‘why are we spending money on this, as taxpayers?’ That’s a big question that needs to be asked. Our intention as Sendle – we’re trying not to pretend we’re the post office. We’re the complete opposite. In a lot of cases we’re a lot cheaper – we can do it for 40 per cent less on average.”
Moody said that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s support for competition for the marketplace did not seem to extend to Australia Post. “The Turnbull Government could start asking: do we effectively have a functional monopoly here, with Australia Post?” he said. “Until we came along, you didn’t have that much choice apart from lining up at the post office.
“There are a lot of hidden monopoly things around that you don’t see until you look under the hood. AusPost is still the only company that can deliver to PO boxes. That’s a government asset, and it’s a bit like Telstra saying you can’t call a Telstra home phone unless you have a Telstra mobile phone.
“We’ve been calling on AusPost to open up that network for the past year. For many customers in regional areas that might be your address, and you can’t participate in the e-commerce economy. The government should be looking at this, not spending money on an IP dispute.”

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