9 March 2020TrademarksEdward Pearcey

Women’s startup platform defends dolphin logo in Sony dispute

Sony Pictures Television has objected to a dolphin-themed trademark application from a female-orientated startup platform, according to documents filed with IP  Australia.

Springboard Enterprises, which describes itself as the ‘premier platform where entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts meet to build great women-led businesses’, had applied to have its ‘Dolphin Tank’ logo registered last year.

The US-based non-profit’s ‘Dolphin Tank Sessions’ offer ‘entrepreneurs resources from knowledgeable people in the community’, with female entrepreneurs pitching ideas to a live audience.

However, Sony gave a notice of intention to oppose in November 2019, arguing that the Springboard trademark is “substantially identical or deceptively similar” to a Sony mark that has acquired a reputation in Australia.

Although not explicitly mentioned in the opposition documents, this is thought to refer to Sony’s own Australian TV show "Shark Tank", a reality competition that sees aspiring entrepreneurs make presentations. Sony owns the trademark for this show.

Springboard filed an intention to defend notice correspondence on Saturday, February 29.

According to the original submission, the logo in question contains the word ‘Dolphin’ and is described as ‘Dolphin, Silhouette with curl’.

According to its website, Springboard’s mission is to “accelerate the growth of entrepreneurial companies led by women through access to essential resources and a global community of experts”, and since 2000 “nearly 800 Springboard portfolio companies seeking financial and human capital for product development and expansion have created over $20 billion in value”.

Evidence of any possible trademark infringement is due to be submitted in May this year. A final decision is expected shortly after that.

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. WIPR set out to discover exactly what the IP sector was doing to help forge a gender-equal world. The theme was #EachforEqual. Find out more here.

In January, Sony was awarded costs of £1,800 against Beijing Elex Technology after successfully opposing the latter’s ‘Lord of War’ trademark application, according to a UK Intellectual Property Office decision.

Sony argued that there is a “likelihood of confusion, including the likelihood of association” with its ‘God of War’ existing trademark.

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9 March 2020   As International Women’s Day approaches, WIPR set out to discover exactly what the IP sector was doing to help forge a gender-equal world.