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ACT Moves to Prevent Big Business Censorship

ACT Moves to Prevent Big Business Censorship

ACT Associate Commerce Spokesman Stephen Franks will move an amendment today to the Trade Marks Bill, to ensure global companies are not forced into trying to stop the public from using trademarked words as a general description.

"The Trade Marks Bill being rammed through Parliament under urgency changes the present law.

"Currently companies that own and use trademarks correctly - such as Hoover, Jandal, Jeep, Sellotape, Swan Dri, Xerox or similar household names - can preserve their trademarks from cancellation by ensuring other trade users do not use them. They do not have to attempt the impossible task of stopping the public from using their trademarked words generically. To do so would be to censor free speech.

"The Labour Government wants to change that, so that companies will lose their rights if they fail to stop a trade name from becoming a "common name in general public use".

"ACT believes in free speech. We will oppose the change, which shows a long-standing lack of concern about the public's right to free speech.

"We call on other political parties to help ensure trademark owners are not forced to try to interfere in free speech just to protect their legitimate property", Stephen Franks said.

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