Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


US Software Company Trademarks Maori Word 'Koha' in NZ

John Kelcher
Candidate for Waimakariri

23 November 2011

IPONZ approves Koha Trademark

American Software Company Trademarks Maori Word in New Zealand

Once again the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) have granted a trademark on a common word. This time it is the Maori word Koha, which means gift or donation.

The Horowhenua Library Trust have used Koha as the name of their open-source, online library catalogue system, developed by Katipo Communications in 1999.

American firm PTFS/Liblime have applied for the trademark of Koha and this has been granted by IPONZ. Though the strength of PTFS/Liblime’s mark is thought to be weak, a challenge by the Horowhenua Library Trust would be expensive and time consuming.

Recently IPONZ have made controversial decisions over common words, such as the Green Man Brewery’s beer called “Raddler” (German for cyclist), small cheese-makers using the generic term “Vintage” and the exclusive use of the American slang term by a Taihape café called “Brown Sugar”.

Green Party candidate for Waimakairiri, John Kelcher, has spoken out against IPONZ’s decisions, particularly about Fonterra Brand’s threats of legal action over the use of ‘Vintage” by small cheese makers.

“It seems strange that IPONZ, a part of the Ministry of Economic Development, would favour a private American company over a community based New Zealand Library. I expect that opposition from Maori groups will be vociferous. Their attempt to pinch the Maori word Koha is highly symbolic and will not go unchallenged.”

“I think we should be looking at the legislation and culture of IPONZ. We must insist they start working for the common good of New Zealanders, instead of brokering aggressive and dubious claims over common words for private gain. Nobody wins here, except the lawyers.

A fund has been set up to collect donations for mounting a legal challenge. http://koha-community.org/plea-horowhenua-library-trust/



© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Q+A Transcript: Groser ‘Not Expecting’ Failure At UN Climate Talks

‘I will be very surprised if we don’t get an agreement. I think it’s a completely different situation to Copenhagen for a number of reasons. We’ve got a much more realistic negotiating proposal on the table. Secondly, I think the science has strengthened...’ More>>


Greenpeace Protest:

Climate Talks, Immigration And Housing: PM's Post Cabinet Press Conference

Prime Minister John Key began by talking about his recent attendance at the APEC and ASEAN summits. He segued neatly from the opportunities available in Vietnam to outlining his upcoming itinerary which includes Malta, Paris and Berlin. More>>


After Urgent Law Change: Beneficiaries Urged To Act Immediately

I am hoping that thousands more people will be enabled to lodge their review... people without internet, who don't even realise that this has been happening. If just a fraction of the people on facebook can help others to put in reviews tomorrow it could improve so many more peoples Christmas. More>>


Auckland: Phil Goff To Run For Mayor In 2016

Phil Goff has today announced his decision to stand as an Independent candidate for Mayor of Auckland next year... As Mayor, Phil Goff will focus on a number of issues that directly impact on the lives of Aucklanders, including tackling traffic congestion and increasing the housing supply. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Mike Moore To Step Down As US Ambassador

Yvonne and I are giving notice to MFAT that we will be leaving the Post just before Christmas on the 16th December... I am now the longest serving continuous Ambassador to the US. I didn’t seek this job but felt I should do it because great issues were at stake. The time was ripe for it. More>>


Fox Glacier: Seven Dead In Helicopter Crash

The operation to recover the victims of Saturday’s helicopter crash at Fox Glacier is a technically challenging task calling for specialist skills in an unforgiving environment, says operation commander Inspector John Canning. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news