Case note: community bank decision confirmed

In Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited v Community First Credit Union Limited [2021] FCAFC 31 the Federal Court Full Court has dismissed Bendigo Bank’s appeal against the trial judge’s decision to allow Community First Credit Union’s application to register trade marks which included the words “community bank”. The Bank also appealed against the order that its trade marks using the words be removed. Background.

The Appeal Court upheld the trial judge’s decision that ” The ordinary signification of the term “community bank” is a provider of banking services or financial institution that serves a particular community, whether defined by geography, workplace, trade or other feature. It is directly descriptive of the Services. Further, the evidence establishes that other traders, not actuated by improper motive, might … legitimately desire to use those words for their ordinary signification.”

It also decided that Bendigo’s own use of the term “community bank” was consistent with the ordinary signification found by the primary judge, notwithstanding Bendigo’s innovative community bank franchise model.

Evidence of financial institutions using the expression before and after the Bendigo Priority Dates in relation to the provision of financial services was considered sufficient to support the trial judge’s findings as to ordinary signification.

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David Jacobson

Author: David Jacobson
Principal, Bright Corporate Law
About David Jacobson
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. It is not to be relied upon as a full statement of the law. You should seek professional advice for your specific needs and circumstances before acting or relying on any of the content.

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