South American tour company rips off Auckland Transport's logo
Auckland Transport (AT) is seeking legal advice after having its intellectual property stolen by a tour company in Peru.
The Auckland Council organisation's distinctive round blue logo was discovered gracing the front of a pamphlet for local tour guide company Amazing Tours Arequipa, which operates walking tours for tourists around the South American city of Arequipa.
Arequipa is the historical capital of Peru and has a population of nearly 800,000 people, making it the second most populous city in the country.
The logo was a direct copy - plagiarising all colours, fonts and symbols - with the only alternations made being the addition of the word 'Arequipa' just below the letters AT.
Kiwi backpacker Sophie Borrie found the flyer hanging amongst numerous tourist guides while staying at a hostel in Arequipa.
"I had to double-take when I first saw it," Borrie said.
She was confused as to why AT would show up in Peru, she said.
AT spokesperson James Ireland said it was flattered to have the small company copy its logo.
However, AT would be looking into possible copyright and trademark infringement, Ireland said.
Amazing Tours Arequipa have been asked to cease using the image, he said.
This was not the first time AT's logo had been stolen by an international company.
A Russian furniture moving business had been caught earlier this year doing the same thing, Ireland said.
AT were checking with their lawyers if legal action would be required, he said.
University of Auckland lecturer in intellectual property Paul Sumpter said any recourse which AT could potentially take against the tour company would be difficult.
If AT were wishing to sue Amazing Tours Arequipa it would be required to do so from within Peru, as the logo would most likely be protected under domestic copyright laws, Sumpter said.
Companies that wished to keep trademarks safe should try highlight a copyright symbol and associated rights, he said.
Although, this was not a silver bullet and may be impractical for some uses, said Sumpter.
Amazing Tours Arequipa have been approached for comment.