New South Wales-based Community First Credit Union has won a hard-fought trademark case against the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.
Community First Credit Union successfully applied to the Federal Court to revoke a long-held monopoly over the use of the term “community bank” by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. Justice Brigitte Markovic held that Bendigo and Adelaide Bank had been unsuccessful in adapting its trademarks to distinguish its services from the ordinary signification or meaning that was directly descriptive of the services Bendigo and Adelaide Bank provided.
The Community First Credit Union was represented by Sparke Helmore.
Shannon Platt, Partner, Sparke Helmore Lawyers, who ran the Federal Court proceedings for the Community First Credit Union, said, “We are proud to have represented Community First Credit Union in this landmark case. We approached this matter in a Banking Royal Commission environment, mindful of doing our best to ensure our client would be able to drive commercial success into the future unimpeded by any restriction on using “bank”, “community bank”, and “community banking” to describe its business.
“This was about Community First Credit Union being able to use the descriptive terms “community bank” and “community banking” to connect its business to the community it serves. This is a win, not just for Community First Credit Union, but for credit unions, co-operatives and mutuals alike. It is a great result all round!”
Melina Morrison, CEO of the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals, congratulated the Community First Credit Union on winning its case and having the ability finally to describe its business model for what it is—real community banking.