Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. v Spartan Sports Holdings Pty Ltd [2014] ATMO 81


Spartan Sports application to register its TWINS trade mark for sporting articles being boxing equipment opposed by Major League Baseball.

The opponent is the owner of several prior registrations related to the Minnesota Twins baseball team, including the registration that was relied upon by the opponent.

The opponent submitted that it was the word ‘TWINS’ in each of the respective trade marks that ‘caught the eye’ and was the essential element. In particular, the opponent submitted that the ‘MINNESOTA’ and ‘Baseball Device’ were descriptive elements with respect to the fact that the baseball team resides in Minnesota.

Conversely, the Hearing Officer took the view that the ‘MINNESOTA’ and ‘Baseball Device’ elements served to reinforce that a consumer would recall the opponent’s trade mark as ‘MINNESOTA TWINS’ rather than only ‘TWINS’.

Accordingly, when viewed ‘as wholes’ the Hearing Officer did not consider that deception or confusion was likely to occur.

On section 60, the Hearing Officer found that the opponent’s evidence was not sufficient to lead to a conclusion that it had sufficient reputation in Australia to succeed under section 60 or 42(b).

The application is to proceed to registration.

To view the Office decision, click here.

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