Toowoomba firm wins trademark battle with car giant
A SMALL Toowoomba battery company has scored a massive win in a trademark battle with an international car giant.
In a classic "David vs. Goliath" fight, Mitsubishi Japan has withdrawn two applications with IP Australia for the trademark of the words "absolute" and "absolute triton".
The word "absolute" was already trademarked by David Gough and Brad Cooper of Absolute Batteries in the appropriate class in 2016, with the registrar rejecting Mitsubishi's claim on several occasions in 2019.
The attempted trademark was an essential part of the car behemoth's release of the new Triton Absolute, which was unveiled last year at the Bangkok car show to compete with vehicles like the Ford Ranger Raptor.
Mr Gough said after Mitsubishi put forward two "paltry" offers to buy the trademark off him and trying to argue to IP Australia that Absolute Batteries was not using its trademark properly, Mitsubishi's lawyers informed him the company was backing down.
"They basically said they were going to drop the trademark non-use application," he said.
"As of January 15, they've pulled both trademark applications - that's a good win for the little guy.
"I felt relieved, because it was something looming over our heads."
IP Australia's rejection of the application was because Absolute Batteries' trademark already covered "maintenance or repair of automotive vehicles, repair of land vehicles, vehicle battery charging and vehicle breakdown assistance (repair)".
The move is a major dent for Mitsubishi, which will now have to rebadge a vehicle it previewed across the country last year, including in Toowoomba in June.
Mr Gough and Mr Cooper went to the media two weeks ago via The Chronicle, and the story earned the pair support from across Australia.
"I want to thank the media for bringing it to the fore, and the public's support was great from all around Australia," Mr Gough said.
"I even had legal help offers from up at Port Douglas."
Mitsubishi has now submitted trademark applications for the word "predator", which is held in the same class by a tyre company in Brisbane.
Mr Gough praised his legal team for forcing Mitsubishi to stand down, saying the issue was worth fighting for.
"I'd like to thank our team, Mark Smith of SLF Lawyers, and Andrew Musgrave our barrister," he said.
"If you believe in something, and that's why we trademarked it, just keep fighting.
"The big guys will try to roll you every time, but if you stand your ground, you can win.
"I have no doubt that if Mitsubishi were the ones with the trademark, they would've shut us down."
Mr Gough Absolute Batteries was still weighing up whether to chase Mitsubishi for the legal costs required to negotiate with it.
"You would've got a good holiday out of our costs," he said.