In a landmark decision of cultural significance, a decision at the Australian Trademarks Office was handed down on the 11 May 2020 pertaining to the very identity of Football Nation Radio.

Football Nation Radio Holdings (“FNR”) is delighted that it has successfully registered its Trade Mark Football Nation Radio despite opposition brought by Crocmedia Pty Ltd (“Crocmedia”) pursuant to s.52 of the Trade Marks Act 1995.

Crocmedia had sought to prevent FNR from registering the trade mark Football Nation Radio on the basis that, among other things, it conflicts with the trade mark AFL Nation that it uses as part of its media stable.

Crocmedia has continued to use the mark “Football Nation” in recent times as a part of its broadcasting of the A-League despite being warned this was infringing FNR’s earlier trade mark rights.

The Registrar of Trade Marks overwhelmingly rejected Crocmedia’s arguments, not only finding in favour of FNR but also making a costs order against Crocmedia.

In its ruling, the Registrar found that:

  • The term ‘football’ is not equivalent to AFL;
  • Football Nation Radio was cleared to be registered as a trade mark after approving the application by FNR;
  • Football Nation Radio was inherently adapted to distinguish from those similar goods and services of other persons;
  • There were sufficient differences between the AFL Nation trade mark; and
  • Football Nation Radio was not substantially identical to it and would not cause confusion or deceive the public;

The implication of this decision is that any party who seeks to use a mark that is deceptively similar to “Football Nation Radio” may be infringing the Football Nation Radio Trade Mark.

This decision goes to the very core of the identity of football at Football Nation Radio.

Football Nation Radio believes the decision has wide cultural and societal significance pertaining to the ability to freely use the word football in Australia.

Football is central to Australia’s identity for many reasons, as demonstrated by the below factors:

  • Australia has 1,957,552 football participants according to the FFA census conducted in 2019;
  • There are many more millions of friends, family and fans of the game and of these participants in Australia; and
  • The men’s and women’s national team proudly represent Australia in front of billions of people right around the globe at the biggest sporting events on the planet, including the FIFA World Cup ™, the FIFA Womens World Cup ™, the Olympic Games and the Asian Cup.

In terms of football’s historical and cultural connectivity to Australia, it is also well known that the game was played on these shores since the late 1800’s. The importance of the game to so many Australian’s is such that many monuments, streets, statues, grounds and plaques were named in honour of football participants in Australia. The great work by our loyal and dedicated audience since our inception in 2017 have helped our historians bring to the public’s attention that Australia has:

  • 16 plaques;
  • 44 streets;
  • 3 war memorials;
  • 49 stadiums;
  • 22 grandstands;
  • 30 parks and places;
  • 20 murals; and
  • 4 statues,

named in honour of people involved with football in Australia (and counting), including that in 1941, 125 white cedar trees were planted in Brompton Park Adelaide in honour of enlisted football players in WW2.

This trademark decision empowers the whole team involved at FNR to continue in its endeavours to debate, promote and celebrate the game loved by so many in Australia and across the world.

We are delighted with the amazing growth of the game in Australia, and are excited that the FIFA Women’s World Cup ™ is only a few short years away from coming to our shores.

Football Nation Radio believes Australia is a football nation and looks forward to working with all key stakeholders of the game and all media agencies across the country, including Crocmedia, to further the promotion of Football in Australia.

First year Journalism student at RMIT University. Looking to get the truth out while having a bit of fun.