Australian Federal Court to differentiate between trademarks and style names

According to the Australian Federal Court, the name given to a bikini style cannot be a trademark.

Pinnacle, owner of the Australian brand “Delphine” for clothing, hats and swimsuits in class 25, brought an action against Triangl, marketing a bikini style called “Delphine”. The defendant argued that the name at hand was never used as a trademark, but only as a style name. In addition, Triangl requested the judge to cancel the other party’s trademark, since according to the Australian “First-to-use/apply” rule Pinnacle should not be the owner.

The judge denied both parties’ requests by stating that there was no infringement, since Triangl used the term “Delphine” only as a style name and not as a trademark. Also, Triangl’s request was refused because they were not able to establish another person’s use of “Delphine” prior to Pinnacle’s register priority date for the relevant products.

According to the judge, style names are frequently used to easier refer to specific products within the same company rather than numbers or codes, while trademarks’ main function is to distinguish a company’s goods and services from those of other companies.