13 March 2018, Melbourne, Australia –
In an act of perpetual discrimination towards the Australian citizens of Macedonian descent, the Australian authorities have denied the World Macedonian Congress – Australia (WMC-A) the right to register the trademark of the ‘Macedonian Sun’ within its logo, sighting it as a national symbol of Greece.
In a landmark ruling against the Macedonian people of Australia reminiscent of the Jeff Kennett Macedonian ‘Slav’ prefix fiasco, I.P. Australia has denied WMC-A’s application after 2 initially successful passes siting:
Your trademark contains a national symbol of Greece. Under the Paris Convention, Australia must prohibit registration of trademarks containing such symbols. This means your trademark is not registrable without authorisation from the relevant authority. Contact details for the relevant authority as at 23/08/2005 are:
Embassy of Greece
9 Turrana St
Yarralumla ACT 2600
This highly emotive issue is one that has enraged the Macedonian community at large and is particularly demeaning considering the ‘Macedonian Sun’ was the internationally recognised national flag of the Republic of Macedonia from 1991 to 1995. It was changed in 1995 to the current flag as a concession to end an economically disastrous trade embargo imposed on Macedonia by its southern neighbour Greece.
The trade embargo placed on Macedonia in February 1994 was an attempt by Greece to force the then president Kiro Gligorov to alter Macedonia’s name, national symbols, redefine its language and amend the Constitution to remove articles that supported the ethnic Macedonian minority currently living in Greece. Facing an impending economic collapse and left without any support from the international community, The Republic of Macedonia had no choice but to change its flag and constitution, after which Greece lifted the embargo. The Greek government then promptly registered the ‘Macedonian Sun’ as a “Symbol” of Greece.
The ‘Macedonian Sun’ is not registered by any organisation in Australia. WMC-A is currently engaged in a legal battle with IP Australia over the determination and sees the appeal of the decision as a landmark test case in which the Macedonian community of Australia and its organisations will have a legal precedent to site in the face of unrelenting Greek discrimination of ethnic Macedonians around the world.
The latest legal correspondence received by WMC-A from the legal team engaged in the defence of the trademark application states “I note that the examination report provided was prepared by IP Australia and will not allow your trademark to proceed without permission to use the symbol”. Needless to say, a legal argument is currently being built on the history and usage of the sun that predates the “Symbol of Greece” with which WMC-A will proceed in the interests of the Macedonian community.
The Macedonian community has had enough of the Australian governments’ consistent anti-Macedonian outlook on all issues that Greece takes umbrage with and has regularly expressed its concerns formally but they have fallen on deaf ears because of a well-connected and a politically expedient Greek lobby that is entrenched in machinations of Australian politics.
The Australian government has consistently overruled, overlooked and manipulated findings to pander to the larger Greek community at the expense of the Australian Macedonian community because the numbers simply don’t add up for the Macedonians in comparison at the ballot box.
Australia is still one of the minorities of nations who refuse to recognise Macedonia under its constitutional name and has regularly ignored calls to apply the basic human right of self-determination to its decision-making process. The Macedonian community of Australia deserves better and WMC-A is hopeful that a reversal of the determination will go a long way to building trust in Australian Government for the Macedonian community here in Australia.
WMC-A asks all of the Macedonian community in Australia and its organisations to stand with us in this battle because our success means that the Macedonian community in Australia will be free to utilise what rightfully belongs to us as a people. It is the symbol that unites all ethnic Macedonians irrespective of the lands they currently live in and allows us, as Macedonians to transcend the imposed divisions and discrimination Macedonians live on a daily basis.
For all Media Enquiries:
WMC-A National Executive Director of State Affairs