Salmat-Computershare joint venture beats Australia Post in court

Australia Post had asked the Federal Court for an injunction on the grounds that the name 'Digital Post Australia' (DPA) – the first-ever joint venture between transactional communications giants – was too similar. Although the injunction failed, the case will still be tried in court, probably in May.

Alex Twomey, Australia Post's general manager for external affairs and reputation, told ProPrint that last Wednesday's decision was a "mixed outcome but a fair one".

"We definitely thought we had a case and the fact that it will go to trial, we were pleased with that."

Digital Post Australia chairman David Hynes said he was delighted with the result as it "allows us to continue trading under a name that accurately reflects what we do".

He also said the joint venture between Salmat, Computershare and US firm Zumbox remained on track to deliver Australia's first digital postbox by the second half of 2012.

This rollout plan comes as Australia Post revealed more detail about its own equivalent service. The postal agency will be using Pitney Bowes' digital delivery system, Volly, when it launches the Digital MailBox service later this year.

Pitney Bowes chief executive Murray Martin said Volly would provide users of Australia Post's digital postbox with strong security.

Twomey told ProPrint he was "really excited" his organisation had partnered with Pitney Bowes as they had a history of successful collaboration.

He also refuted suggestions that Digital MailBox had been hurriedly launched in response to DPA's service.

He said Australia Post had been investigating digital mail for years, before starting serious development of Digital MailBox in mid-2011.

"We've had a very positive response from consumers and customers and the media," he said.

Twomey said Australia Post would offer customers a key point of difference from DPA as it would integrate its digital mail service with its national postal service. Customers would also have the reassurance of being able to enter Australia Post outlets to be served, he added.

He said it was too early to judge what sort of challenge DPA would pose, but he welcomed the competition and said it would boost awareness of digital post.

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