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Radio Adelaide takes ABC fight to federal court


Community station Radio Adelaide has taken its “David and Goliath” fight with the ABC to the federal court.

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The station is seeking a temporary injunction against the ABC using the name “ABC Radio Adelaide” for its local 891 ABC station, with a hearing set down for Thursday next week.

Depending on the outcome, a date will then be listed for trial.

The ABC provoked outrage at Radio Adelaide two weeks ago when it announced that all of its local radio stations would be rebranded, with its Adelaide station to take on a moniker remarkably similar to the community station.

Radio Adelaide chairman Iain Evans accused the ABC of arrogantly seeking to steal his station’s name.

The legal action claims the trademark “Radio Adelaide” for the community station, and seeks to stop the national broadcaster from using the words in its re-brand, scheduled to start on January 9 next year.

The ABC announced early this month that all of its local stations would be rebranded along the same lines – ABC Radio Adelaide, ABC Radio Melbourne, and so on.

Evans, who received only moments notice of the announcement, said at the time that Radio Adelaide would take every measure possible in a “David and Goliath” fight to protect its brand.

He told InDaily this week that the station would argue in the federal court that it owned the Radio Adelaide trademark.

“We believes we have common law rights and we have trademarked ‘5UV Radio Adelaide’ over a decade ago,” he said.

“We believe we have reasonable grounds to protect that trademark.”

Two weeks ago, local ABC manager Graeme Bennett offered to meet Evans to thrash out the issue, but that offer is now off the table due to the legal action.

“Given the legal discussion commenced by Radio Adelaide, our response at this stage remains the same,” Bennett told InDaily last week.

“The phrase ‘Radio Adelaide’ will only be used by the ABC when referred to as ABC Radio Adelaide; where it is used descriptively on-air, visually in promotional material or otherwise. At all times, ‘ABC’ or the ABC Wave logo will accompany the words ‘Radio Adelaide’; as such, there will not be confusion in the marketplace between the two stations.

“Beyond that, the use of ‘Radio’ and ‘Adelaide’ are purely descriptive in relation to radio broadcasting which is based in the city of Adelaide. The highly-distinctive ABC and the ABC’s distinctive wave logo are each sufficient to distinguish the ABC’s name from both the name ‘Radio Adelaide’ and the trade mark ‘5UV RADIO ADELAIDE’.”

In a brief directions hearing in Adelaide today, Federal Court Justice Natalie Charlesworth told the court that, in or around 2001, she had worked as a freelance journalist for 891 ABC radio and for ABC television’s Stateline program.

She also noted that she had been interviewed on Radio Adelaide in 2005 on a subject unrelated to community radio.

– additional reporting by Bension Siebert


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