by LINDA SMITH – published in The Mercury 26th February 2013
A STOUSH over naming rights has erupted between businesses in a busy West Hobart street.
Shops in Hill St recently scrapped their street address from their trading names, after discovering Hill St Grocer has a trademark on the Hill St name.
Hill St Gourmet Meats recently re-branded itself West Hobart Gourmet Meats while post office and supermarket Hill St Express changed to West Hobart Express.
The Marquis Hotel bottle-shop, which trades as Hill St Fine Wines, is also investigating a possible name change after being contacted by Hill St Grocer last week.
Hill St Grocer owner Nick Nikitaras said “Hill St” and “Hill St Grocer” were both registered trademarks and it was unfair of other West Hobart businesses to ride on the success of Hill St Grocer. But angry business owners, who have been obliged to make name changes to avoid a Federal Court battle, say it’s unfair because they are located in Hill St and have a right to use the Hill St name.
West Hobart Gourmet Meats owner Shane Mundy initially used the slogan Shane’s Meats and Treats the Boutique Butcher on Hill St. before changing to Hill St Gourmet Meats.
“It’s a street name, it’s descriptive,” he said.
West Hobart Express co owner Lawrence Steenberg said a name change was disappointing and it had cost thousands of dollars for new signs and uniforms.
“It has been quite a lengthy, expensive process,” he said.
Marquis Hotel owner Glenn Frankcombe renovated his bottleshop – part of the Thirsty Camel group — a year ago and started using the name Hill St Fine Wines because “we’re on Hill St, that’s our address”.
Trademark lawyer Julie Harkins said trademark law was tricky but generally if it’s a geographical description then others in that area should be able to use the name.
Name snag, ain’t tatt a shame
HE may have changed his business name after a dispute with Hill St Grocer, but Shane Mundy has a lasting reminder of his reign as the Hill St Butcher.
The dedicated proprietor got the Hill St Gourmet Meats web address tattooed down the back of his leg three years ago to promote his business while running marathons
The unusual inking-which stretches from the top of his calf muscle to his Achilles tendon – attracts plenty of attention and has featured in national running magazines.
Mr Mundy decided to rename his business West Hobart Gourmet Meats after a stoush over naming rights and a potential court battle loomed after Hill St Grocer trademarked the Hill St name.
Now his tattoo is outdated. “When the tattooist was doing this he said ‘I’ve never done this before, are you sure you want to do it?’,” Mr Mundy said.
“He said ‘I’ve put plenty of partners’ names on arms but this is a business web site –you might change your business name’ and I said ‘Nope, it will never change. . . I’m going to be running this business until I retire’.”
Despite the disappointment of the conflict, Mr Mundy remains in. good spirits about his tattoo. He’s even joking about getting his new web address on his other leg and adding a disclaimer to his existing tattoo, which states:‘Please look at other leg for new web address”.
While Mr Mundy plans to keep his tattoo, his case is a reminder to think before you ink. The Aesthetic Laser Centre owner Peter Martin said a growing number of men and women in their late 20s – were spending thousands of dollars to erase tattoos.