SYDNEY: In response to media reporting of 22 October 2019 that White Ribbon Canada (WRC) “is attempting to seize back the intellectual property of its Australian White Ribbon offshoot”, Mr Aaron Lucan, a liquidator of White Ribbon Australia Limited (WRA), said:
“Since receiving a letter of demand from White Ribbon Canada on 15 October, and despite numerous requests and an open invitation to talk through their claims and concerns, we’ve received no correspondence evidencing a legitimate ownership interest in the assets of White Ribbon Australia.
“It goes without saying that a liquidator has clear fiduciary and legal obligations to creditors and can’t accede to any party’s claim on any asset without substantiation of that claim, whether we’re talking about cash in the bank, an office chair or registered IP. Nor can a liquidator sell any asset subject to a legitimate ownership claim by a third party”.
“As explained to White Ribbon Canada, Worrells as liquidators are legally compelled to test the veracity of any ownership claim by requesting proof, and if none is provided, must instruct lawyers to request that the claimant cease and desist from further assertions”.
Worrells also notes the following:
- Prior to issuing an invitation for offers to purchase the assets of WRA on 9 October 2019, Worrells investigated the relationship between White Ribbon Australia and White Ribbon Canada.
- Inquiries with IP Australia (being the Australian intellectual property body) established that White Ribbon Australia is the sole registered owner of its Australian and several international trademarks.
- Investigations and enquiries of WRA to date have failed to identify any agreements between White Ribbon Australia and White Ribbon Canada in relation to ownership or licensing of intellectual property. Nor is there any evidence to date of any legal relationship of any kind between the two organisations.
- On 16 October 2019 this information was relayed to the Executive Director of White Ribbon Canada, with the rejoinder “We understand that White Ribbon Canada is motivated by a desire to preserve the good name of the various affiliated White Ribbon organisations”.
- On 16 October 2019 a second email was sent to the Executive Director of White Ribbon Canada, with Mr Aaron Lucan remarking: “I would like to schedule a teleconference with you to establish a meaningful dialogue regarding this issue. I believe that we have common objectives and it will best for all stakeholders to work collaboratively…I look forward to discussing this matter with you”.
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