While the NRL’s contenders to become the 17th team prepare, a cunning opportunist has got under their guard.

THE NRL ECONOMIST exposes a cunning plan to squeeze the NRL’s 17th team for cash in an exclusive for Wide World of Sports.

Officials from the Jets and Dolphins have been frantically preparing their proposals for inclusion to the NRL, with expressions of interest expected to be called for in April – and while they’ve been preparing, a cunning opportunist has got under their guard.

The three potential names of the NRL’s 17th franchise – ‘Brisbane Firehawks’, ‘Brisbane Dolphins’ and ‘Brisbane Jets’ – have all been filed for trademark via IP Australia.

The plot twist? The ‘Brisbane Dolphins’ and ‘Brisbane Jets’ were filed by the same owner.

Brisbane Jets bid chief Steve Johnson denies any involvement.

“It definitely was not submitted by us,” he told Wide World of Sports. “It really doesn’t concern us that it was done, no matter who was behind it.”

So who was it?

Initially, both bid teams were left confused when the trademarks were filed on February 4 this year by BWD Consulting of Holland Park West in Queensland.

In truth, a clever entrepreneur anticipated both teams would require ownership of their names and shrewdly filed for trademark before either did. Should either team gain entry to the NRL, the businessman will demand a tidy profit on his initial $287 investment.

The owner, who prefers to remain anonymous, was surprised at the delay in either team registering their name. Since the initial application, the opportunist has speculated another $1250 in order to guard those names with broader protection; including classes 41 and 25, which protects goods and services in entertainment and apparel.

Even if the individual looking to milk the Brisbane franchise for cash does not actually use the name for businesses purposes, ownership of the trademark is likely to be upheld.

Sports and commercial lawyer Darren Kane explains: “The mere non-use of a trademark does not invalidate the mark and the protections afforded by registering the mark. Proceedings would need to be commenced through IP Australia or in the Federal Court, to have the mark removed because of the non-use.”

Could an individual stop a major organisation from using their name? Consider the case of Virgin Enterprises, where not even the clout of entrepreneur Richard Branson could overcome a local couple who smartly registered their trademark of ‘Virgin Home Services’. The result? Branson’s Virgin lost the case and were forced to pay court costs.

Unfortunately for the speculator, the plan for cash may only be effective if the Jets are granted the licence, as the Dolphins privately prefer a different name anyway, the ‘Sunshine State Dolphins’.

Brisbane Firehawks

Despite filing their own trademark last year, the ‘Brisbane Firehawks’ are also in a spot of bother.

Netball Queensland Limited has provided a notice of intention to oppose the Firehawks application on the grounds it is “likely to deceive or cause confusion” and “is similar to a trademark which has acquired a reputation in Australia”.

While not actually named in the documentation, it is likely the opposition is to protect the IP of the Queensland Firebirds, who will need to provide evidence in support of their opposition before a hearing, decision and outcome.

How rugby league!

You can follow The NRL Economist on Twitter: @ramy_haidar

Disclaimer: Ramy Haidar is employed by NRL club the Manly Sea Eagles.

NRL

By

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.