WHEN UWA student Declan Burke decided to print the iconic Transperth upholstery pattern on a T-shirt he did not realise the hipster must-have item would become the centre of a trademark dispute.
The Hamilton Hill resident set up a Go Fund Me page to raise funds to pay for a trademark agreement.
“I want to make Transperth apparel for the people of Perth, but there is $3000 in legal fees that need to be dealt with,” his Go Fund Me page said.
The chemistry and philosophy student had the design printed on a few T-shirts that he sold to friends.
“A few years ago I had the idea to put the T-shirt online and forgot about it,” Mr Burke said.
A friend of his was snapped wearing the shirt at Laneway Festival and the photo was used on the cover of an album from Perth record label Pilerats.
“From there I sold about 70 or 80 shirts in a few days,” Mr Burke said.
“I realised it was probably a copyright violation so I wrote to Transperth many times and asked if I could have a licensing agreement with them use to the pattern but they said they weren’t interested.”
Ten months later Mr Burke received an email from the Public Transport Authority agreeing to let him use the print on the condition a copyright agreement was signed off by their lawyers; for $3000.
“With the Go Fund Me page, I hope it is successful because that will pay for the legal fees and I’ll get a solicitor,” he said.
“I really want to sign the agreement so people can start wearing the print on shirts, raincoats, anything I can print it on.”
Mr Burke said the premise was “somewhat ironic” but also because Transperth had a unique meaning for young people in Perth.
“Transperth is ubiquitous for the people of Perth and it has had problems with its image with young people but it has always been there; that train ride home at 7am after a big night,” he said.
“I want our public transport system to be there in 50 years and be better.”
PTA spokesman David Hynes said The organisation was in the public transport business, not the clothing industry.
“Our predominant focus is ensuring we continue to deliver a first class public transport experience for the people of WA,” he said.
“We do not conduct negotiations through the media.”