Optus' Open Network spawns legal attack

Hours after Optus received stinging penalties from the competition regulator over dodgy advertising for its Supersonic plans, the telco may again wind up in federal court over allegations of trademark infringement.

After a court loss yesterday over misleading advertising, Optus has now been threatened with legal action by fibre carrier OPENetworks for allegedly infringing on its trademark.


Two telcos lay claim to name.(194427 image by, Angell Williams, CC2.0 )

OPENetworks has said that it will take Optus to court and file complaints with the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over allegations that the new Optus Open Network brand name infringes its trademark.

The Optus name was applied to the telco's mobile networks and was outed as part of a multi-million dollar advertising campaign launched in September. Telstra's network had been labelled 'Next G' by the telco's former chief executive Sol Trujillo, whereas Optus had not had a formal name for its competing infrastructure for some time.

OPENetworks strategy and legal counsel Michael Sparksman said that Optus "stole the name".

"They will be back in court again," Sparksman said. "We are a wholesale only provider. They are wholesale and retail. We don't want to be confused as a parent or subsidiary to them."

OPENetworks wrote to Optus to ask the telco to cease using the name, but received a "totally unacceptable reply", according to Sparksman.

He said the company has trademark on the name and has been in operation for three years.

"Apart from the obvious, Optus is in breach of the Trade Practices Act, deceiving customers that they are associated with us," he said.

In a statement, Optus confirmed it has been contacted by OPENetworks with allegations of trademark infringement.

"Optus strongly denies the allegations made by OPENetworks," the carrier told ZDNet Australia.


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