Clive Palmer to trademark 'Titanic', 'Gigantic'

He owns a dinosaur. And now he is going after an adjective.

Clive Palmer's Blue Star Line, the company undertaking the ambitious plan to build the Titanic II, has submitted a priority trademark application for a variety of words related to the ill-fated ship; Titanic, Titanic II, Titanic III, Blue Star Line ... and Gigantic.

Mr Palmer said he believed Gigantic was one of the names White Star Line, owners of the original Titanic, considered for its Olympic class of ships, but never got to use.

He said he was undertaking the trademark application “just in case”.

“I think it [the application] will be OK,” he said.

“We'll just see how we go. I think there is a report back on it already, saying it is OK for a ship.”

Mr Palmer said he didn't have any qualms with attempting to trademark a word used in the common vernacular.

“You don't have ownership of a word with a trademark, it is in association with a use,” he said.

“Besides, Titanic is in the vernacular as well.”

But Dr Jay Sanderson, a lecturer at Griffith University Law School, said Mr Palmer may find himself facing “a number of potential issues” – and not just with Gigantic.

“One of the key functions of trademark law is to distinguish between goods and services,” Dr Sanderson said.

“So something like Gigantic is generally considered to be a descriptive term and it is very difficult to argue that the Gigantic would distinguish somebody's goods and services from somebody else's.”

Which could also prove an issue with the word Titanic – which has already been at the centre of several trademark legal wrangles in different countries.

The film studio which made the blockbuster movie Titanicin the late 1990s – then 20th Century Fox – holds the trademark for the word Titanic in class 41, the trademark class which covers entertainment services, movies and motion pictures.

Dr Sanderson said, feasibly, someone could trademark the word "Titanic" in a different class, but that wouldn't stop trademark holders from taking action if there was a chance people could be “deceived or confused” between the two.

For now, Dr Sanderson said, the trademark examiner would consider the applications and people - including those who held any particular trademark - could oppose it.

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