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Government's Trade Mark Bill Fails to Protect ABs

Government's Trade Mark Bill Fails to Protect All Blacks

ACT Leader Richard Prebble was totally unimpressed with Trevor Mallard's statement released today.

"We understand from the Rugby Union that they approached the government three months ago, before Labour's controversial Trade Mark Bill was passed, asking for assistance. The Rugby Union is concerned that the words "All Black", use of a black rugby jersey and the silver fern itself are in common use and in the upcoming World Cup, unauthorised firms will attempt to cash in on the All Black brand. "What Mr Mallard failed to mention is that the Trade Marks Bill has an extraordinary provision that removes trade mark protection for products that are in common usage.

"If the Rugby Union is in trouble - solely because this government has proceeded with an anti-business Trade Marks Bill - then the All Blacks are just the first of a number of well-established New Zealand brands that have been put at risk.

"The Minister's attempt to put the All Blacks into the Statutes Amendment Bill resulted in two sports codes and more than a dozen firms complaining that their existing brands, which in no way can be suggested as passing off as the All Blacks, would be caught by the new provisions.

"ACT's Stephen Franks, parliament's leading commercial lawyer, has suggested to the government a number of ways that parliament could extend some brand protection to the All Blacks without putting other sports codes' brands at risk or the brands of a number of established legitimate businesses.

"Mr Mallard issued his press statement to attempt to cover for the fact that the Labour government has failed to make time in the legislative programme this week to introduce a bill to protect the All Blacks.

"All of the political parties including ACT have indicated sympathy with the problems facing our national game and it would have been very easy to introduce such a bill, refer it to a select committee and have it passed well before the World Cup. Now Mr Mallard is attempting to blame ACT for Labour's priorities which see the OSH Bill, with its half a million dollar fines for businesses, given the priority over the national game.

"The Minister of Sport failed to assist the Rugby Union to win the rights to the World Cup and is now vainly trying to push to get assistance for a law change that is so badly drafted it could strip the rights of sports codes and businesses to use the silver fern emblem - New Zealand's national emblem," said Mr Prebble.

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