It wasn’t according to the Court.
Both organisations are racing to roll out digital postbox services, which will allow people to collect and store documents such as bills and invoices online. Digital Post Australia, which is a joint venture between Computershare, Salmat and Zumbox announced its plans 11 days before Australia Post revealed its intent.
Digital Post Australia is a joint venture between Computershare, Salmat and US based company Zumbox Software (which provides the smarts behind the system which is already in use in the US). The three companies share ownership in the company on a 40, 40, 20 percent basis.
Australia Post meanwhile has also announced it will launch a digital mailbox service and that it plans to open 30 superstores where people can pick up physical mail or parcels around the clock in response to the rising demand for convenient delivery of goods purchased online.
On Friday the Federal Court threw out suggestions that Digital Post Australia was guilty of trade mark infringement, misleading and deceptive conduct or passing off.
The decision which was handed down by Justice Marshall noted that; “It is difficult to imagine that anyone who is competent with computer technology will have any doubt that Digital Post Australia is separate and distinct from Australia Post.”
The judge also identified an issue that could well become a marketing challenge for Australia Post noting that; “The important point, for current purposes, is that Australia Post has no existing reputation in a digital mail service. While Australia Post has operated some non-traditional services, such as Fax Post and eLetter, it does not operate a digital post service currently. Australia Post is most strongly associated, in the minds of the public, with physical mail services.”
The case was dismissed with costs.
According to a spokesperson for Australia Post the organisation is disappointed with the decision. It clearly disagrees with the finding noting that; “We will take time to consider the judgement and our appeal to prevent third parties from using an Australian owned, trusted brand for their commercial gain.”
David Hynes, chairman of Digital Post Australia, meanwhile said that the company was; “Pleasantly surprised by the definitive nature of the judgment.”
A private closed group of users will be invited to start using the service next week. Mr Hynes was hopeful that after four to eight weeks of testing the service would be launched publicly in October or November.
Mr Hynes also said that a chief executive had been appointed for Digital Post Australia, with Randy Dean, a former senior vice president of Zumbox relocating to Australia to head the joint venture.