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AOPA and RAAus in Dispute over Slogan


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Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) look set to do battle over the use of the phrase "Freedom to Fly".

 

The dispute erupted last week after it emerged that RAAus was granted a trade mark registration for the slogan on 27 June this year. AOPA claims it has used the term for several decades.

 

According to AOPA CEO Ben Morgan, RAAus sent AOPA a letter last week stating that AOPA would need to pay a licence fee if they continued to use the slogan.

 

"Ironically, it now seems that our 'Freedom to Fly' is no longer free, but available to the highest bidder," Morgan said in his reply to RAAus.

 

"The AOPA Australia entirely rejects the RAAus proposal that would force our association to enter a licensing agreement with your organisation for the use of the statement 'Freedom to Fly'.

 

"That the use of this statement could be restricted, controlled, licensed and used by the RAAus for material gain makes a mockery of its meaning to thousands of aircraft owners and pilots nationwide and casts great shame on the RAAus management."

 

In defending the trademark move, RAAus CEO Michael Linke said they registered the trademark in order to protect it for all non-profit aviation organisations.

 

" ... we [have] registered the phrase as a public effort to make sure that it can be widely used in the public sphere by all non-profit organisations engaged in the aviation space, as it has been used liberally in the past by so many," Linke said in a reply to AOPA.

 

"We agree with that principle and welcome expressing the value and meaning of this phrase in our industry. It may be used openly and without limit by any non-profit aviation organisation. As previously conveyed we encourage AOPA to use the phrase freely. RAAus will do so too, and supports others who seek the freedom to fly to do the same - freely, openly and without restriction."

 

Sport Aircraft Association of Australia president Tony White has come out in support of the AOPA position in an open letter to RAAus.

 

"The actions to trademark AOPA Australia's 'Freedom to Fly' slogan is viewed as aggressive and does nothing to foster positive working relationships between the RAAus and its peer associations," White said.

 

"In light of the fact that AOPA Australia, SAAA and others sought to openly invite the RAAus to the General Aviation Summit in July, we question the judgement in pursuing this trademark."

 

RAAus has said that when the trade mark expires on 27 November 2027, they have no intention to renew it.

 

AOPA Australia is believed to have access to an intellectual property solicitor and intends to act to have the trade mark registration revoked.

 

Under Section 84 of the Trade Marks Act 1995, the registrar may revoke registration of a trade mark "if he or she is satisfied that:

 

(a) the trade mark should not have been registered, taking account of all the circumstances that existed when the trade mark became registered (whether or not the Registrar knew then of their existence); and

 

(b) it is reasonable to revoke the registration, taking account of all the circumstances."

 

Among the circumstances to be taken into account is any use of the trade mark. The legislation also makes it clear that the registrar is under no obligation to consider revoking a trade mark.

 

Read more at AOPA and RAAus in Dispute over Slogan - Australian Flying

 

 

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Why does the AOPA object? They can use it for nothing, can't they?

 

According to AOPA CEO Ben Morgan, RAAus sent AOPA a letter last week stating that AOPA would need to pay a licence fee if they continued to use the slogan.

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AOPA used it for 30 years but never considered trademarking it?

 

If the RAA won't charge a fee and will not renew in 2027, what is the exact point of trademarking it in the first place?

 

Going to see a bit of RAA backpeddling me thinks.... needs to reign in the aggressive corporate approach a bit....

 

 

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RAA's response via Facebook

 

Dear Ben,

 

An open letter to AOPA and RAAus members and the members of the aviation community

 

On 17 August (followed by your public statement on 20 August) you expressed concern over RAAus registering the phrase “Freedom to Fly”. On 17 August, we wrote to you and said that we had registered the phrase as a public effort to make sure that it can be widely used in the public sphere by all non-profit organisations engaged in the aviation space, as it has been used liberally in the past by so many.

 

We agree with that principle and welcome expressing the value and meaning of this phrase in our industry. It may be used openly and without limit by any non-profit aviation organisation. As previously conveyed we encourage AOPA to use the phrase freely. RAAus will do so too, and supports others who seek the freedom to fly to do the same - freely, openly and without restriction.

 

In due course our registration will expire. We have no present plan to seek re-registration as our wish is to have this phrase used clearly for the benefit of Australian aviation as a whole.

 

Regards,

 

Michael Linke

 

 

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It's going to be even more interesting when SAAA finally wakes up that RAA has their "Sport Pilot" image.

Haha... and I thought today's squabbles in the Canberra parliament were futile sideshows...060_popcorn.gif.cda9a479d23ee038be1a27e83eb99342.gif

 

 

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I’m a little confused here.049_sad.gif.af5e5c0993af131d9c5bfe880fbbc2a0.gif

 

“Freedom to Fly” has suddenly become a concern to RecAus someone tell me why?

 

It’s been used by AOPA since the mid 40’s and now suddenly it’s a concern to RecAus staffers and they suddenly needed to register it. Again tell me why?

 

If RecAus staff where worried that the dynamic ribbon (by line) was possibly in need of protection why didn’t RecAus staffers highlight this to AOPA or Ben Morgan.059_whistling.gif.a3aa33bf4e30705b1ad8038eaab5a8f6.gif

 

RecAus has around 9000 plus members and AOPA has around half that number. However, AOPA members represent GA pilots and owners of large aircraft, businesses and service industry based individuals - many owning multi million dollar aircraft and businesses.

 

I’m a member of both RecAus and AOPA and I’m now quite concerned by the sudden urgency for RecAus staffers and the position on registering this “Freedom to Fly” I believe they were cognisant that it would create this issue we read about today with AOPA and AOPA members.

 

It is also interesting to note that a RecAus staff are indicating they will not renew it in 2017- begs the question why do this registration anyway.109_groan.gif.66f71fc85b2fabe1695703d67c904c24.gif

 

I hope RecAus members are willing to contribute to the RecAus fighting fund as this will end up in Court with AOPA Australia, AOPA USA and the Freedom to Fly aerobatic team I predict throwing big dollars at this.

 

I’m guessing RecAus will need to budget for $200,000 plus in its next budget for legal, as I’m hearing AOPA members are already gearing up for a fight to support Ben Morgan and AOPA.

 

A senseless waster of money by RecAus in registering this “Freedom to Fly”and I predict a further waste of money in the Courts.

 

work.gif.8d9e6d8ba9cdbd13b3ec052de09a1de4.gif

 

 

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I have just typed Freedom to Fly in to Google search and it came up with a Freedom to Fly Display Team, a Fear of Flying course called "Freedom to Fly" plus several others including AOPA and then Wikipeadia states:

 

Freedom to Fly is the third studio album by guitarist Tony MacAlpine, released in 1992 through Shrapnel Records (United States)

 

These are all websites up and running, so I guess RAA could soon be getting some fees to offset any increases to us until at least 2027

 

 

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This comes as no surprise to me - Michael Linke is an attack dog!!, just look at the way he has presided over the move to make RAA a limited liability Company, doing away with area reps, reducing the board numbers, removing experienced aviators and people with historical knowledge of the workings of RAA from the board and replacing them with academics that we have little or no knowledge of - largely from the GA world - who can see no other way than to make RAA into GA mk2 eventually welcoming 1500kg aircraft onto the register - all at the expense of by the current membership with never ending price increases for services provided to pay for this blatent takeover of all recreational aircraft. All this with no meaningful consultation with the membership.

 

The reason for creating the original AUF has been completely erased.

 

If I were on the board of any other recreational flying body I would be very wary of having anything to do with the RAA executive.

 

 

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I’m a little confused here.049_sad.gif.af5e5c0993af131d9c5bfe880fbbc2a0.gif“Freedom to Fly” has suddenly become a concern to RecAus someone tell me why?

I’m with you, as a RAA member and AOPA member, this is just confusing as hell. I keep my RAA Membership as I enjoy flying a Sling 2 on occasion and dont mind supporting them. However when things like this happen and they waste our money like this it’s just crazy. I really hope they remove their trademark claim quickly.

 

 

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...... I really hope they remove their trademark claim quickly.

They can't 'remove their claim' to the trademark, the process is complete and already approved without opposition and so it has reached the Registered/Protected stage, where it will remain for the next ten years unless contested in Court. Anyone contesting it would have to demonstrate continued use of the phrase/words (which AOPA could easily do) and they would also have to explain why they didn't become aware of the application in the seven months or so of publication during the opposition phase.

 

Frankly, I can't see why RAAus made this claim in the first place, what would they plan to do with it? They've protected it in Classes 35 and 41 (publicity/advertising and training/instruction). I can't imagine any other bodies that would want to use it, or where it would disadvantage RAAus if they did do so, which then makes ownership of the IP worthless to RAAus since they are very unlikely to prosecute (and/or gain from) any breaches of use - quite apart from clearly having caused a rift between them and other sport aviation organisations.

 

Whilst RAAus can't now 'cancel' the application, they could sign it over to another ABN holder, probably to AOPA would be the sensible thing to do before this blows up a storm.

 

Brings back memories of the Ugg fiasco ...

 

 

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Maybe the signing over to another ABN number is the aim. I wonder who would benefit from that, but my wondering does not include RAAus members being beneficiaries.

 

 

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Personally I would support AOPA in any way I could...as I have previously said, our beloved RAAus is finished in my eyes and did so when the handful of people, and you know who they are and we should treat every one of them with contempt, conned the members out of having OUR RAAus a couple of years ago and now there is extremely very little we can do about them doing whatever they want:sad angel:

 

 

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$500.00 was the cost, paid in Nov 2017. It's easy to look up in the public domain.

 

One would imagine you could just as easily cancel such a trademark at any time with the dept of trademarks. In fact, yep, you sure can, and it's free.

 

 

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$500.00 was the cost, paid in Nov 2017. It's easy to look up in the public domain.One would imagine you could just as easily cancel such a trademark at any time with the dept of trademarks. In fact, yep, you sure can, and it's free.

Yes, the application fee is $250 per class if you apply with Picklist but without using the Headstart process, RAA protected it in 2 classes so the fee was $500.

 

I've never come across a process by which you can cancel a trademark once it's been registered. There's no 'dept of trademarks' - patents and trademarks and other Intellectual Properties are managed by IP Australia. The only form of cancellation I have come across on the ipaustralia site is whereby a person can apply for cancellation of a trademark for non-use, i.e. when someone else has the trademark but are not making use of it, and perhaps the applicant wants to make use of it themselves. There are frequently applications made in that manner but it's certainly not free.

 

 

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Head in the clouds

 

Yes it does sound like Ugg.

 

I’m dammned if I know why RecAus saw the need to do this - if their intention was to spite and aggravate AOPA staff they have done that.

 

Importantly, a few crusty old AOPA members and not so crusty are very annoyed. I can see money being dropped into the AOPA fighting fund account from a number of directions.

 

Hope RecAus has tons of cash budgeted for to fight this.

 

I think it’s about time RecAus staffers telling its membership base why they needed to even do this.

 

It’s not good enough to say only a few members are vocal about this. Yes a few members comment on Forums but I’m sure RecAus know the discussions off Forums is what counts.

 

 

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