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ARN’s rebranded Kiis 1065 Sydney faces legal threat from Melbourne’s Kiss FM

Kiss FM MelbourneMelbourne community radio station Kiss FM is set to launch a fight for its name following the Australian Radio Network’s move to rebrand its Sydney station Mix FM to Kiis 1065.

The ARN received a legal letter from the Melbourne station calling on it to cease and desist from using the station’s name – regardless of the difference in spelling – for infringing on its property rights.

Tim Byrne, manager of the Melbourne station told Radio Info: “In a David and Goliath battle or scenario akin to ‘the vibe’ in the iconic Australian film The Castle, Kiss FM Dance Music Australia is being forced to defend its rights to exclusively use on an unrestricted basis its Kiss FM name in Australia.”

According to IPA Australia the Kiss FM trade mark lapsed in 1999 and the application for the Kiis FM trade mark was approved in November with no opposition. However a legal letter from Kiss FM to the ARN states:

“Should your company continue with the Kiis/Kiss rebrand, our clients hereby put you on notice that you will be infringing its various intellectual property rights in the Kiss brand.

“The words Kiss or Kiss FM and the words Kiis or Kiis FM (despite their different spelling to our clients’ Kiss trade marks) are substantially identical or deceptively similar to our clients’ well-established Kiss trade marks.

“Should you continue with the rebrand of your company’s radio station to the Kiss/ Kiis rebrand, we hereby put you on notice that your company will be infringing our clients’ common law trade mark rights.

“Should your company’s conduct infringe our clients’ common law and/or registered rights in the Kiss trade marks, our clients hereby put you on notice that it will be forced to issue legal proceedings against you and/or your company in order to protect their rights.”

A spokeswoman for ARN said although the Kiis trademark was registered across all states, the radio network had no intention of rebranding its Mix stations outside of Sydney.

“Sydney’s Kiis 1065 – which is spelt differently to Melbourne’s Kiss FM – is a station that’s being built specifically for Sydney,” she said.

“As a Sydney brand, with a completely different music format and audience to Kiss FM’s Melbourne dance station, ARN are clearly not looking to compete with this community station. We’ve been in discussions with Kiss FM on all of this and those discussions are continuing.”

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