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New trademark for tobacco a win for ethical investors

Australian ethical investors may soon be able to differentiate fund managers or financial institutions that are ‘tobacco-free’.

Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission has proposed to accept a charitable organisation’s application to create certified trademarks that can be used by fund managers and financial institutions to signify their investment status in tobacco products.

Tobacco Free Portfolios Limited, a public company and charity, has submitted a request to the ACCC for the recognition of three trademarks that highlight to investors whether a fund manger or financial institution is directly or indirectly invested in tobacco holdings, or if they are committed to divesting from such investments within a two-year timeframe.

ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said the Tobacco Free trademarks were important in allowing investors to pursue investment opportunities that align with their personal ethics.

“Many investors want to invest in funds that are tobacco free, and this mark will help them to make informed investment decisions,” he said.

“Our initial assessment is that this trademark and the underlying rules meet the legal test for registration in that they are clear and not misleading or anti-competitive. Additionally, as the approved certifier, Tobacco Free Portfolios is able to competently assess whether funds and fund managers meet the certification requirements.”

Trademark laws in Australia

In Australia, the ACCC works together with IP Australia, the agency that oversees intellectual property rights, patents and trademarks, to assess and approve the use of a certification trademark.

In their assessment, it is considered whether a potential trademark could be to the detriment of the public through restricting competition, promoting harmful or immoral behaviour, allowing for unfair practices or being unsafe and/or misleading.

Interested parties are able to make submissions to the ACCC regarding a potential new trademark up to one month after the commission releases its initial assessment.

Consumers can provide written or oral submissions regarding the ACCC’s decision on the Tobacco Free Portfolios Limited Trademark by clicking here before 22 February 2019.

New trademark for tobacco a win for ethical investors
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