Thredbo name freed by Federal Court
Hazan Hollander wins for ‘David’ in ‘Goliath’ fight
Sydney – The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia delivered a unanimous judgment today against Kosciuszko Thredbo Pty Limited (KT) in the case they had brought against Thredbonet Marketing Pty Ltd and its director.
The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia determined that:
The word “Thredbo” is a geographical name of a location in New South Wales;
KT is not entitled to a monopoly in the use of the word “Thredbo” in association with accommodation in Thredbo;
Thredbonet has not engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct or passing off;
The clauses of the sub-leases relied upon by KT to try and control use of the word “Thredbo” are void.
Senior lawyer at Hazan Hollander acting for Thredbonet, (either Yves Hazan or Peter Whitehead), explained “This is an emphatic win with four Federal Court Judges delivering KT the strong message that it neither owns nor controls the geographic name “Thredbo”.
“The case is a good example of a large corporation failing to bully a smaller company with massive litigation. We are pleased that the court found that KT claims over-reached well beyond their legitimate rights and awarded substantial costs to Thredbonet.”
KT has the head lease on the Thredbo Alpine Resort and is the landlord for nearly every business in Thredbo, including a company called Thredbonet which manages more than 50 properties in Thredbo village.
The long running dispute started in March 2012 when KT claimed to own the word “Thredbo”. Legal action was taken by KT after the company Thredbonet bought the domain name thredbo.com. KT had been offered to buy the domain name but declined to purchase as KT already owned the thredbo.com.au domain name.
Thredbonet launched their Thredbo.com website to rent holiday accommodation in Thredbo, and was quickly threatened with broad claims of legal action by large law firm King & Wood Mallesons. Assertions on behalf of KT were made in court that Thredbonet had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, passing off, and had breached terms of sub-leases that tried to restrict use of the word “Thredbo”.
Thredbonet has been vindicated in its defence claims that no corporation owns the word “Thredbo”.