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Legal battle begins over Sydney Zoo trademark

Legal battle begins over Sydney Zoo trademark
March 6, 2018

A legal battle between Taronga Zoo and a new zoo planned for Sydney’s west is to focus on whether "western Sydney is part of Sydney.”

Taronga Zoo is trying to stop the company behind the new zoo, pitched as a "safari-like experience" 45 minutes from Sydney’s, from using the name Sydney Zoo.

It argues that without including a reference to "western Sydney", the name will mislead its overseas and interstate visitors into thinking it is related to the existing facility in Mosman or that the new zoo is located in central Sydney.

During a brief hearing in the Federal Court today, lawyers for Taronga Zoo compared the argument to the difference between the names of local AFL teams the Sydney Swans and the Greater Western Sydney Giants.

Barrister Ed Heerey QC advised "Western Sydney is of course part of Sydney but it's the western part of Sydney.

"Wherever you draw the line of western Sydney, they (the new zoo) are on the other side of it."

Sydney Zoo's barrister Richard Cobden SC said the case was "exactly about whether western Sydney is part of Sydney".

He described it as "a startling proposition" that a location "on the Sydney rail map and on the Sydney area maps and on signs used by Tourism NSW saying 'you're now entering Sydney' is not in Sydney".

Taronga Zoo previously used analysis of Instagram tags and Google search algorithms to try to challenge Sydney Zoo's application to trade mark its name, arguing a significant portion of the public think of Taronga when they see the term ‘Sydney Zoo’.

While that challenge was unsuccessful, Taronga Zoo is also appealing against that decision.

Outside the court, Sydney Zoo's Chief Executive Jake Burgess said he hoped both cases would be resolved quickly.

Burgess told the ABC "I don't think this will push back our opening. We're looking at opening in early 2019.

"What this does though is it introduces an element of risk as we're trying to build a business and basically build something for the community. Because if we do have to rebrand obviously that might be a setback for us."

Sydney Zoo's website promises “Australia's most advanced zoo" and Burgess said the local community's response to the project had been "almost universally very positive".

The not for profit organisation which runs Taronga Zoo, the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, released a statement standing by its call for the new facility to be named Western Sydney Zoo.

In the statement, Zoo Chief Executive Cameron Kerr explained “as the premier Sydney zoo for more than 100 years Taronga Zoo is often thought of and described by visitors as Sydney zoo.

"It's for this reason we believe that another facility calling itself Sydney Zoo within Greater Sydney will create confusion, particularly for overseas visitors and that this could negatively impact the experience of guests at both sites."

Kerr said Taronga Zoo had hoped to avoid going legal action and would enter mediation proceedings with Sydney Zoo.

He added "we are supportive of a new zoo in western Sydney and we have shared advice and guidance in the development of their facilities and best practice animal care, and we look forward to working together to promote wildlife conservation in the future."

Images: A giraffe at Taronga Zoo (top) and artist's impressions of the planned (Western) Sydney Zoo (below).

3rd March 2018 - COURT CASE LOOMS AS TARONGA ZOO LOOKS TO CLAIM ‘SYDNEY ZOO’ NAME

17th February 2018 - VILLAGE ROADSHOW REVEALS ‘INCREDIBLY DISAPPOINTING’ RESULTS FOR WET’N'WILD SYDNEY

13th September 2017 - NEW WESTERN SYDNEY ZOO GETS PLANNING APPROVAL

12th July 2017 - TARONGA ZOO MOVES TOWARD PLASTIC-FREE OPERATIONS

4th July 2017 - NEW FUNDING AIDS TARONGA WESTERN PLAINS ZOO 

13th February 2017 - WESTERN SYDNEY ZOO PROPOSAL SUBMITTED TO PLANNING COMMISSION FOR FINAL DECISION

7th October 2016 - TARONGA ZOO MARKS 100 YEARS OF CONSERVATION 

5th May 2016 - NEW OPERATIONS APPOINTMENT AT FEATHERDALE WILDLIFE PARK

27th April 2016 - MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS MARKS FIVE YEARS OF OPERATIONS IN AUSTRALASIA 

17th April 2016 - DESIGNS REVEALED FOR NEW TARONGA WILDLIFE RETREAT 

7th April 2016 - NEW WESTERN SYDNEY ZOO PLANS TO MAKE THE MOST OF TECHNOLOGY

30th December 2015 - NEW WESTERN SYDNEY ZOO TO FEATURE BEST PRACTICE SUSTAINABILITY

30th November 2015 - TARONGA ZOO AND TARONGA WESTERN PLAINS ZOO RECOGNISED AT NSW TOURISM AWARDS 

17th September 2015 - PLANNED SYDNEY THEME PARK REPORTS $1 BILLION INVESTMENT BACKING

8th September 2015 - CAGE FREE WESTERN SYDNEY ZOO TO BRING VISITORS ‘FACE TO FACE’ WITH ANIMALS

27th August 2015 - WILD LIFE SYDNEY ZOO CELEBRATES BIRTH OF KOALA JOEY

3rd August 2015 - WILD LIFE SYDNEY ZOO LAUNCHES NEW WILD FLIGHT AERIAL ADVENTURE 


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The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

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