'Kiss Off ARN' - the battle for the name is on

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A battle has begun for the rights over the name KIIS/KISS in Australia.

Kiss FM in Melbourne say they are ready to fight for the name they've had since 2005.

Station Manager Tim Byrne told news.com.au ARN's recent move was "immoral" and "reprehensible" and accused the network of "acting like bullies and they're trying to steal our name."

Kiss FM sent a cease and desist letter on December 9 with the station now starting an online petition to help their case. They are also looking for funds to fight ARN in court.

At this stage ARN say the KIIS brand is only going to be used in Sydney but, as we reported a month ago, ARN have registered a bunch of domain names in Australia under the Kiss or Kiis brand. This move was probably to cover them off, just in case there was a desire to move the brand into other markets in the future. But as we outlined, this did include KIIS1011.com.au (Mix) and KIIS1043.com.au (Gold) in Melbourne.

Bec Brown, who is ARN's PR rep said, "As a Sydney brand, with a completely different music format and audience to Kiss FM's dance station, we're clearly not looking to compete with this community station. We've been in discussions with Kiss FM on all of this and those discussions are continuing."

Kiss FM's Tim Byrne described the fight against ARN as "David and Goliath... a bit like The Castle".

The Melbourne station have lodged a claim to trademark its name on November 12 and KIIS 1065 lodged a claim on November 25.

See the full statement that has been published on the Kiss FM website.

 

Kiss Off ARN [Australian Radio Network]! NOT IN OUR NAME!

Kiss FM Dance Music Australia is an independent radio station, something that is unique in Australia’s concentrated corporate media landscape.

Now after trading as Kiss FM for more than eight years, the Australian Radio Network (ARN) with parent U.S. company ClearChannel (the largest radio station conglomerate in America) is planning on launching its own Kiss radio station in Australia (Kiis). ARN have decided our Kiss name suits their rebranding strategy of Sydney’ Mix FM. Should ARN go ahead with its plans, this will significantly dilute the goodwill and reputation of our much-loved Kiss brand in Australia which we have carefully built up over the past 8 years.

Unperturbed by the fact Kiss FM Dance Music Australia has carved out a national and international reputation as Australia’s premier dance music radio station, ARN has chosen to ignore Kiss FM’s common law rights and pending trade mark application (which we have clearly notified them of) forcing us to engage in a legal fight to protect our brand.

In a David and Goliath battle or scenario akin to “the vibe” in the iconic Australian film The Castle, Kiss FM Dance Music Australia is being forced to defend its rights to exclusively use on an unrestricted basis its Kiss FM name in Australia. Through its local lawyers Studio Legal and with advice from some top tier firms and specialist IP firms (all who have been working on a pro-bono basis), Kiss FM has developed a clear strategy to protect its rights however unfortunately currently lacks the funds to implement this strategy.

Obviously ARN has many more resources and finances than Kiss FM to engage in a legal battle regarding use of the Kiss name in Australia and as such, Kiss FM is now looking for funds to fight ARN through the courts.

About KISS FM Dance Music Australia :-

  • Kiss FM Dance Music Australia is Australia’s premier dance music radio station.
     
  • Since 2005 it has broadcast to Australia and the world via FM radio, satellite and the internet.
     
  • It has supported and promoted Australia’s DJs and dance music producers helping shape their careers by giving them a platform to have their music heard.
     
  • It has held 5 hugely successful 15,000+ fundraising events for the station – KISS MY GRASS.
     
  • KISS FM is also the exclusive Australian home to many International Radio Shows. For instance Armin Van Buurens A State of Trance airs every Tuesday at 2pm on KISS FM – Armin has over 7 million social media followers.
     
  • Over the past 18 months 3 of KISS FM’s breakfast show hosts have been poached by commercial networks namely DMG and Southern Cross Austereo.
     
  • In 2012 KISS FM secured Federal Government Grant – ‘Generate’ to rebrand KISS FM as KISS FM – DANCE MUSIC AUSTRALIA.
     
  • In late 2012 KISS FM became the first Australian Radio to be nominated for best show at the International Radio Festival.

 

If you support fairness and are opposed to corporate bullying help us to send a clear message to ARN. Please sign the petition, leave a statement on Facebook, donate and/or contact us to let us know how you might be able to support the station.

 

Kiss Off ARN




Gadget(7:34am 18 Dec 2013)
Man, if I was a lawyer I'd be putting my hand up for a no-win, no-fee case! The smallest legal challenge will see ARN settling out of court. Kiss FM is a national on-line dance radio station that has an audience across Australia. It doesn't matter if the name is spelt Kiss or Kiis - they're both pronounced 'Kiss' on air. Timmy should get an injunction - ARN would pay him out rather than risk their launch….
Tom(7:36am 18 Dec 2013)
Oh dear ... This has started well.
Bob(7:58am 18 Dec 2013)
Gadget, Clear Channel has operated the Kiss/Kiis brand for years. Did they consult Clear Channel when they took the name Kiss? I'm thinking 'no'...
PJC(9:16am 18 Dec 2013)
@ Bob.. I'm pretty sure Clear Channel only owns that brand in Nth America. There are stations called Kiss FM all over the world.. not all of them come from Clear Channel.

The issue here is that Kiss in Melbourne was on air a long time before ARN wanted to crash the party. ARN might be saying that KIIS will be in Sydney only but if the new name is a success, you can guarantee it will be used in Melbourne by 2015. That is the problem.
Brendan(10:20am 18 Dec 2013)
For the record: Kiss FM is not a community broadcaster, they are a narrow caster and do not hold a Community Broadcasting Licence.
It's basically a business which broadcast radio.
I wish them luck with this though, they aren't a bad station to listen to
Legal(10:39am 18 Dec 2013)
To the first comment, this is a trademark/IP matter; the dynamics of this part of the legal business to lend themselves to the conditional fee agreement concept.

Kiss FM would be best served making a claim for a costs indemnity against ARN, that's the first thing a 'David' in a David and Goliath battle would be advised of.

Remember that 2CBA 103.2 Sydney only operates and is known in Sydney, yet it tried to use the 'Heart' name and had to backpeddle after MRRW became aware, so the 'it's not in their market' claim by the ARN PR rep is a waste of time.

Recently, a Manly hospitality venue had to alter its name after settling with a Cairns venue.

The interesting and baffling aside to the Kiss use saga is why the Lithgow commercial licensee gave up its use of Kiss. Not to mention their loss of a relatively clear channel freq when they had to make way for the second auctioned Sydney FM licence (95.3)
troy(11:24am 18 Dec 2013)
Unless ARN changes Mix Melb to Kiss, whats the big deal, there's plenty of stations with the same name but different owners? Think Mix Darwin/Mix Perth vs Mix Syd and Melb
Hot FM Sunshine coast vs about 20 other HOT FM's
I'm sure there's others?
Neil busacca(15:28pm 18 Dec 2013)
Its pretty obvious that arn intend to rename their melbourne mix fm, kiss fm too in the near future.

I wonder how happy arn would be if the kiss crowd registered trademarks very similar to all the other arn brands in other states.

The arn crowd seem to court controversy so maybe this is a marketing exercise?

Nobody seems to have mentioned that by use of a name like kiss fm you have implied trademark rights even without registering the trademark.
Angus Moody(22:37pm 18 Dec 2013)
Having spent a fortune to get two overrated announcers and a total revamp of its station including a name change that nobody can relate to, its obivious that is going to end up in tears for the Australian Radio Network.

If the ARN want to improve their image, then they should have a close look at their Adelaide strategies which do appear to be working.
Aussiecam58(22:03pm 26 Dec 2013)
See how KIIS is shown. Stare hard enough is says Kyls (KILS) lol

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