Australia Post's attempts to stop a competitor from trading under a name similar to its own have been temporarily foiled, with the court deciding that the competitor can continue to use its name until it decides whether the name misleads customers.
Last month Digital Post Australia decided to bring out a digital mail service that acts as a personal assistant, notifying users when bill payments are due and keeping digital documents together for secure access.
Its service was announced just a week before Australia Post revealed it would be releasing its own digital mailbox app, called the Australia Post Digital Mailbox. Australia Post's own offering is similar to Digital Post Australia, but in the form of an app for mobile and laptop devices.
Australia Post became concerned that consumers may be misled or deceived by Digital Post Australia's choice of trading name, which it felt was too similar to its own. It thought that Digital Post Australia may therefore be in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act, so it filed an application for an interlocutory injunction against Digital Post Australia with the Federal Court in Melbourne, but the court ruled in favour of Digital Post Australia.
Digital Post Australia chairman David Hynes took the view that the name of the business was simply indicative of what his company does.
"We are delighted with the outcome, which allows us to continue trading under a name that accurately reflects what we do," he said. "We are in an unrivalled position to deliver an innovative, ground-breaking offering to Australians in 2012, and we remain focused on the job at hand."
Digital Post Australia's win means it will be able to continue to use its company name until the Federal Court decides next month whether the name does indeed mislead consumers.
The decision will be important for the companies' impending launches of digital mail services, for which they see demand in the market.
"Australians are demanding more options for how to do business with the companies they use, including Australia Post," said Australia Post managing director and CEO Ahmed Fahour.
"Digital post is an inevitable next step in the online evolution as consumers embrace the ease and convenience of the internet to make more of their everyday transactions," Hynes said. "Our market is ready for the significant and widespread benefits a digital post box will bring for consumers and businesses."
Digital Post Australia's services are due to begin some time in the second half of this year and Hynes claims that it will be Australia's first digital post box when it rolls out.
However, Australia Post may be able to scoop the first to market title if it manages to accelerate the progress on its own Digital Mailbox service.
Today, Australia Post announced that it had signed an agreement with Pitney Bowes to use the Volley secure digital delivery system as the engine behind the Australia Post app. Australia Post has said that it will be the first organisation to use Volley in Australia, and it is presumably set to benefit from the experience of others that have been using Volley in the US since early 2011. The current time frame for the roll-out of Volley is around September this year.