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It’s a Jungle Out Where? Sydney Zoo Challenge

It’s a Jungle Out Where? Sydney Zoo Challenge

Taronga Zoo is challenging the proposed title of Sydney Zoo as part of a misleading and deceptive conduct case

7th March 2018
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Taronga Zoo unhappy with rival Sydney Zoo

Taronga Zoo has made headlines after it launched legal proceedings in the Federal Court against Sydney Zoo – the proposed multi-million dollar zoo being built near Blacktown in Western Sydney. Self-described on their website as ‘Australia’s most advanced zoo in the heart of Western Sydney’, it plans to open to customers in early 2019, using the name ‘Sydney Zoo’.

Taronga Zoo is challenging the proposed title of Sydney Zoo Pty Ltd, as part of a misleading and deceptive conduct case, alleging that the impression the name ‘Sydney Zoo’ creates is confusing for the general public and for unaware interstate and overseas visitors who may not consider that the zoo is in Western Sydney and not at all affiliated with Taronga Zoo.

Scared of the West

Sydney Zoo is planned to be a $36 million dollar sanctuary offering ‘exotic and native animal conservation’ with up to 30 exhibits including African safari animals. Whilst Featherdale Wildlife Park and Wild Life Sydney Zoo at Darling Harbour are other popular animal attractions in Sydney, this is the first fierce competitor Taronga faces, with the Zoo taking all steps to compete with their new rival.

Taronga Zoo has already been rejected in their recent opposition of registration of Sydney Zoo’s trademarked name and logo. The entity behind the planned zoo had already registered the business name ‘Sydney Zoo’ in 2012 and developed a trademark by 2015, with a logo vastly different to Taronga Zoo. Despite this, Taronga claimed that their Mosman facility is often referred to as ‘Sydney Zoo’ and it would be confusing to have two zoos with such similar names in Greater Sydney. Despite being unsuccessful, they are still set to challenge this decision by IP Australia.

Legal Proceedings

The crux of the legal battle and proceedings depends on determining whether ‘Western Sydney is part of Sydney’ or whether the planned name misleads consumers on the zoo’s location. Taronga’s barrister, Ed Heerey made reference to the Sydney Swans and the Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL teams, stating that when the new team was created, it called itself ‘Western Sydney.’ Taronga Zoo wishes to see the new precinct branded ‘Western Sydney Zoo’ insisting this qualification is necessary for visitor knowledge and awareness.

Under Fair Trading laws, regardless of the company’s intentions, business conduct is not allowed to create a ‘misleading overall impression among the intended audience about the price, value or quality of consumer services.’ Many residents living in Western Sydney and suburbs like Blacktown regularly commute between home and the CBD for work and recreation. The allegation that the site’s location which is a mere 35 km or 45-minute drive from Sydney CBD is not in ‘Sydney’ seems a difficult allegation to uphold. It will be interesting to see whether the two zoos can reach an agreement on the new name.

What Does This Mean for You?

However – these proceedings show the importance of securing brand identity! If you want to stay up to date with current and future competitors, it is absolutely essential you have a secure trademark to ensure business longevity and success. For access to all the legal documents you need to protect your brand, or if you want to register your trademark today Contact LawPath! We have you covered!

Unsure where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800LAWPATH to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from our network of 600+ expert lawyers or to get answers to your legal questions.

Bronte Callaghan

Bronte is currently a Legal Intern for Lawpath, working in their content team to help provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. She is in her final year of a Bachelor of Laws and Commerce degree at Macquarie University.