Governments mobilize to protect ANZAC


The governments of Australian and New Zealand have mobilized to protect the acronym ANZAC overseas after Turkish authorities rejected a bid by a company to brand food and drinks with the name. The two governments are seeking international protection for the term by applying to register it as a trademark with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). If the application is accepted, ANZAC will gain the same protection as marks such as RED CROSS.

ANZAC stands for the Australia New Zealand Army Corps, which fought in Gallipoli, Turkey in World War I. Since 1918 ANZAC Day has been celebrated in both countries, marking the remembrance of those who fought in the war. Also, in New Zealand, ANZAC is used as a generic term for a type of biscuit, which apparently gained its name when mothers made them for their sons serving in Gallipoli.

While both Australia and New Zealand legally protect the acronym domestically - in Australia via the Defence Act 1903-1975 and in New Zealand via the Flags, Emblems and Names Protection Act 1981 - they did not think to protect it internationally until a Turkish food company sought to register the term as a mark in Turkey. The application was rejected but the two governments realized that to protect ANZAC internationally, they would have to register it under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, which would thereby prohibit the 164 member states from registering marks that feature the term.

Their application now rests with WIPO and is subject to a mandatory two-month opposition period.

Kate Duckworth, Baldwin Shelston Waters, Wellington

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