The Land of Saints and Sinners? Australia hails Mary

Once upon a time Australia was famous for, among other things, being the distant land to which surplus British criminals could be deported, so that they could be recycled as formidable cricketers, tennis players, IP lawyers and Kylie Minogue. Now, according to the Australian Labor website (via POFnik Mark J. Williams) comes news that the Australian government is to provide special legislative protection to control the use of names associated with Mary MacKillop, who becomes Australia’s first Saint next Monday, 17 October 2010:
"The Corporations Regulations 2001 will be amended so that requests for use of a company name, or part thereof, that suggests a connection to Mary MacKillop will be prevented, unless Ministerial approval [a suitably ordained Minister, the Kat supposes] is granted. A name need not include the text “Mary MacKillop” to suggest a connection. For example, a name including “Saint MacKillop” would be prohibited. A name including “Our Mary” might be blocked, depending on the circumstances and the rest of the text of the name sought. This amendment will reduce the extent to which an entity may hold itself to be associated with Mary MacKillop [What about purchasing MacKillop as a keyword? How will Australian law treat this proposition?].

The Prime Minister said the new measure would provide the highest level of protection currently provided for any individual Australian’s name. The only other individual Australian’s name with similar protection is Sir Donald Bradman [are cricketers such as Sir Don not so much beatified as 'battified' ...].

In addition, existing laws will continue to offer a range of protections against the improper use of Mary MacKillop’s name, including the Trade Marks Act 1995, Trade Practices Act 1974, equivalent state laws, and the common law ..."
The IPKat is familiar with the protection of saints' names.  Many highly reputable saints have long enjoyed intellectual property protection as appellations within Europe: thus Saint-Émilion, Saint-Julien and Saint-Romain provide a pleasant accompaniment to Saint-Nectaire and Sainte-Maure de Touraine. Is it in keeping with eternity that the protection of saints' names is generally achieved through rights that have no expiry date or are infinitely renewable?

Merpel says, Europe has produced more saints than all the rest of the world put together, yet they are being exploited without authorisation on a global basis.  Is it not time for a special form of IP registration and protection of saints' names, giving countries other than those of the saints' origins a ten-year period within which they can change the names of the saints they're using or pay a royalty? Organisations could be established for the collective policing and enforcement of saints' names.  The Vatican would doubtless consider such a role, subject to anything the European Commission might have to say about possible abuse of a dominant position.   Another thing to watch out for is the risk of the Chinese developing large numbers of unregistered saints with which to flood markets in the developed world.

The Mary MacKillop story here
Madonna here
The Abandonment of St Michael here
The Land of Saints and Sinners? Australia hails Mary The Land of Saints and Sinners? Australia hails Mary Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. Looks like papal bull to me.

  2. I'm worried about possible legal action against St Lucia, St Vincent, St Kitts (who was this Kitts, for goodness' sake?) -- not to mention San Marino and São Tomé. Will the Vatican invade? Or seek delivery up of infringing islands?

  3. It's just occurred to me why no Australians have entered this discussion. They're all asleep.

  4. M&S may have abandoned using their famous St. Michael mark but they stll have a Community trade mark registration, 211110, which covers the mark in 22 classes.


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