‘Absurd’ reason for zoo’s legal battle
FOR more than a century Sydney's Taronga Zoo had the chance to be known as Sydney Zoo and didn't take it, a new zoo being built in the city's west has claimed in defending its own right to the title.
Taronga Zoo has launched legal action in the Federal Court against Sydney Zoo Pty Ltd, in hopes of preventing the zoo at Bungarribee Park, near Blacktown, from using the name.
It's alleging misleading or deceptive conduct, arguing the title could cause the public to confuse the new zoo with its own facility on Sydney Harbour and falsely believe it's located in the city's centre.
The chief executive of the not-for-profit Taronga Conservation Society Australia - which operates Taronga Zoo - says their attraction is often described as "Sydney zoo" by visitors.
"It's for this reason we believe that another facility calling itself Sydney Zoo within Greater Sydney will create confusion," Cameron Kerr said in a statement on Tuesday.
"This could negatively impact the experience of guests at both sites."
Sydney Zoo chief executive Jake Burgess, after an initial hearing on the matter on Tuesday, said the idea western Sydney is not part of Sydney is "absurd".
"I'm pretty sure the community of western Sydney feels like they're part of greater Sydney," he told AAP yesterday.
Mr Burgess said despite Taronga Zoo operating since 1916, it's only now there's a "new kid on the block" they have decided to lay claim to the Sydney Zoo title.
"Any large international city has the capacity for more than one zoo," he said. "We believe in our heart of hearts that we are generally entitled to use the name Sydney Zoo and we think the court will hopefully see that as well."
The legal action comes after IP Australia, the federal agency that administers intellectual property rights, rejected Taronga Zoo's opposition to the registration of Sydney Zoo's trademark in January - a decision Taronga Zoo is challenging.
Construction of the new zoo began in December and it's expected to open early in 2019.
Mr Burgess said Taronga Zoo's Federal Court action is coming "late in the peace", more than two years after it learnt about Sydney Zoo.
But Taronga Zoo - which said it would not oppose the name Western Sydney Zoo for its soon-to-be rival - said its aim has been to reach an agreement outside of court, which hasn't proved successful.
"We are supportive of a new zoo in Western Sydney and we have shared advice and guidance in the development of their facilities and best practice animal care," Mr Kerr said.