DGTEK v Digiteck II
For DGTEK v Digiteck I, see here.
Lander J considered that the goods covered by Hills’ registration should be limited as a result of non-use for the statutory period of 3 continuous years under s 92.
One interesting point on this part of the case is that Bitek had sought removal of all goods in its original application for removal. It accepted that evidence filed by Hills showed use in relation to some goods. Hills argued therefore the non-use application must fail since the application was directed to all goods.
Lander J rejected that argument:
Following a review of the cases, Lander J rejected these arguments:
 Hills’ argument that if the Court considered Bitek’s argument that the class of goods should be narrowed would result in a denial of procedural fairness should be rejected. Bitek’s concession means that it cannot have the relief it sought in the application but in seeking to argue that it is entitled to have the restricted relief it is thereby narrowing the scope of the inquiry. In those circumstances it could not be a denial of procedural fairness to allow the matter to proceed by reference to a narrower class of goods.
 I also reject Hills’ submission that the application must fail because there is evidence of use of some of its goods. I accept Bitek’s argument that the Court may exercise its discretion under s 101(2) to narrow the scope of the registration where the applicant establishes that a ground exists in relation to only some of the goods to which the application relates.
The power to excise some, but not all goods, was consistent with the policy of Part 9: to ensure that Register (and freedom to trade) was not cluttered with unused marks:  and consistent with the terms of s 101(2).
Lander J then refused to exercise a discretion against non-removal, apparently on the basis that any reputation that had been generated in respect of the goods on which there had been use did not spill over on to the goods for which there had not been use:
Bitek submitted that s 101(3) does not save Hills’ registration because there is no evidence of use of similar or closely related goods. The only evidence of use relates to a limited group of products which Bitek mainly excluded from its application for removal.
 In my opinion, Hills’ argument should be rejected. The fact that it has used its mark in respect of goods which are similar to those goods marketed by Bitek is not in my opinion to the point.
 The circumstance which is addressed in s 101(4) is whether Hills has used the mark in respect of similar goods to those to which the application relates. In Hills’ case it has not used the goods except in relation to set-top boxes, remote controls, digital video recorders with hard drive, televisions, CD and MP3 players, DVD players, micro sound systems, iPod docking speakers and web-based cameras. I do not think there is any evidence to suggest any use of any similar goods to those proved used by Hills which ought to be retained in the statement of goods.
Perhaps rather surprisingly given the finding of non-use in respect of some products, Lander J considered Hills’ specification of goods should be amended to read:
Digital and electronic products including set top boxes, remote controls, digital video recorders with hard drive, televisions, CD and MP3 players, DVD players, micro sound systems, iPod docking speakers and web-based cameras. (my emphasis)
Lander J accepted he was bound be the decision in Gallo that removal of a mark for non-use operated only from the date of removal of the mark from the Register.
Bitech admitted it had used DIGITECH since 2003 in respect ofantennas, cables (including speaker, coaxial, data and security), plasma TV brackets, leads, AV switch selectors, connectors, wall plates of various types, splitters, TV mounting hardware, video senders, video intercoms, industry tools, remote controls, multi-switches, set-top boxes, cable ties and cable clips.
Ultimately, his Honour found that Bitek infringed by reason of its use on set-top boxes and remote controls, but not the other products.
Consistently with his Honour’s earlier findings, DIGITECH was of course deceptively similar to DGTECH. Apart from set-top boxes and remote controls, the goods for which Bitek had used its trade mark were either covered by its own (now) registration (s 122(1)(fa)) – and all use had been after the application date – or were not shown to be within the scope of Hills’ registration or goods of the same description. S 120(3) also could not be invoked as Hills’ trade mark was not well-known.
Hills Industries Limited v Bitek Pty Ltd  FCA 94