UPDATED: Is The Saturday Paper just the beginning?

1622066_369210356551749_540645244_nNewly launched Australian newspaper The Saturday Paper has only published two issues so far, but a slew of recent trade marks and domains hint that it may go beyond a Saturday-only release.

The Saturday Paper is published by Schwartz Media, and its first issue was released across Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra on March 1.

Nine new trade marks were lodged on March 10 for the following terms: The Monday Paper, The Tuesday Paper, The Wednesday Paper, The Thursday Paper, The Friday Paper, The Saturday Paper, The Sunday Paper, The Weekend Paper and The Saturday Weekly.

All these trade mark applications were classed under “Publishing of newspapers” and were filed, not by Schwartz Media, but by ‘Media Might Pty Ltd’ and ‘Billion Group Pty Ltd’, which both have Sydney addresses.

Schwartz Media, however, is based in Melbourne, so the trade marks may not be associated with the publisher – therefore, the filing of “The Saturday Paper” would potentially warrant a trade mark opposition by Schwartz Media if it is not connected to Media Might and Billion Group.

Meanwhile, a number of currently unused domains have been registered using the aforementioned terms.

Six domains were registered by Morry Schwartz, the publisher of Schwartz Media, on February 6 this year: TheMondayPaper.com.au, TheTuesdayPaper.com.au, TheWednesdayPaper.com.au, TheThursdayPaper.com.au, TheFridayPaper.com.au and TheSundayPaper.com.au. These may just be for the protection of the brand, or to leave room for expansion should The Saturday Paper be a success.

Furthermore, the domain TheSaturdayWeekly.com.au was registered on June 20 last year by ‘The Monthly’, the name of another Schwartz Media publication.

And finally, the domain TheWeekendPaper.com.au was registered by ‘Media Might Pty Ltd’, although no date is given for when this domain was registered.

The contact associated with this final domain, and therefore presumably linked to ‘Media Might Pty Ltd’, is the email of Sydney businessman George Bancs.

According to an online profile, Bancs is director of a number of companies, including the other trade mark registrant ‘Billion Group’. His Twitter profile states that he is interested in “early stage startups”.

An online search appears to find no obvious current connection between Bancs and Schwartz Media, so it is unclear whether the trade marks and TheWeekendPaper.com.au domain are associated with the publisher of The Saturday Paper or not.

UPDATE

The Weekend Paper

22 April 2014: ‘Media Might Pty Ltd’ and ‘Billion Group Pty Ltd’ have lodged more trade marks in recent weeks, this time for the logo of each of the nine terms listed above.

All the logos are in the style of the one pictured above, and the trade marks were all lodged on April 13.

The trade marks all cover exactly one class, “Class 16: Newspapers”, and are at the status of ‘Indexing Approved’, meaning they have not been seen by an IP examiner yet.

Click here to view a screenshot of two of Media Might and Billion Group’s new trade marks for ‘The Monday Paper‘ and ‘The Weekend Paper‘.

Photo source: Facebook
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¡Ay, caramba! Twentieth Century Fox applies for alcoholic Duff Beer

duff1After decades of filing countless lawsuits against unofficial varieties of ‘Duff Beer’, Twentieth Century Fox has finally decided to lodge an Australian trade mark for the fictional beer brand which covers real alcoholic beer.

Made famous as the popular beer consumed on TV show The Simpsons, studio Twentieth Century Fox has always backed away from lodging a trade mark for the brand covering alcoholic beverages. It has also historically reacted fast to any brewery company attempting to produce a real Duff Beer. This steadfast stand seems to be spurred by The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, who has been against producing an alcoholic Duff Beer “because it would encourage kids to drink”.

However, just this month that attitude may have changed, with a new Simpsons theme park in the US starting to serve a real alcoholic Duff Beer. The lodgement of an Australian trade mark could suggest this officially endorsed alcoholic Duff Beer could make its way Down Under some time in the future.

Twentieth Century Fox already holds Australian trade marks for the Duff Beer logo from 1999, covering various souvenir items, such as posters, calendars and drinking glasses. It also held a lapsed Australian trade mark for the Duff Beer logo lodged in the same year, covering non-alcoholic soft drinks.

The new trade mark application for the term ‘Duff Beer’ – TM number 1562201 – was lodged this week, on 12 June, and specifically covers:

Class: 32 Beers and ales; non-alcoholic beers; lagers; stouts and porters

Twentieth Century Fox could be looking to further its protection of the trade mark, rather than produce an alcoholic Duff Beer in Australia.

Just last year, a West Australian liquor wholesaler found itself in legal trouble with Twentieth Century Fox after selling the German imported ‘Legendary Duff Beer’. The studio also fought off Australian beverage and food company Lion Nathan in 1996, when it produced a beer called ‘Duff’ and also lodged (and ultimately withdrew) a trade mark for ‘Duff Beer’ covering alcoholic goods.

There has been many more international attempts to brew a real Duff Beer, most of which are promptly shot down by legal action from Fox.

For example, the German firm ‘Duff Beer UG’ has fought numerous battles to continue selling the previously mentioned ‘Legendary Duff Beer’ across Europe. For instance, it lodged for a European-wide trade mark for ‘Duff Beer’, which was successfully opposed by Twentieth Century Fox. Duff Beer UG is appealing to the European Court Of Justice to get that opposition overturned. Duff Beer UG and a rival German brewery have also spent numerous years in a legal spat to be the sole owner of the Duff trade mark in Germany.

Only three months ago, Chilean police seized 60,000 Duff-branded beer bottles following an intellectual property complaint from, you guessed it, Twentieth Century Fox.

All these legal crackdowns have made unofficial Duff Beer a collector’s item, especially in Australia. For instance, an empty carton for the 1996 Nathan Lion ‘Duff’ beer is currently on eBay Australia for $89, and an empty six-pack of ‘Legendary Duff Beer’ is on eBay Australia for $40.

The new Australian trade mark application was lodged by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and an Australian legal representative, Baker & McKenzie.

Click to view a screenshot of the new alcoholic Duff Beer trade mark application. Also take a look at the lapsed non-alcoholic and the still active souvenir Duff Beer trade mark applications from 1999.