The Sydney Opera House has demanded that a second LGBTI community organisation in less than a year change its logo.

Opera House general counsel Michelle Dixon wrote to Harbour City Bears (HCB) president Jonny Bastin in November, instructing HCB to alter its logo by either removing a drawing of the Opera House or by including more elements from the Sydney skyline.

“The Trust protects its brand by reliance on relevant provisions in the Australian Consumer Law and Trade Marks Act and has registered a number of trademarks,” Dixon wrote.

“The use of our image and brand are an important asset of the Sydney Opera House Trust and brand association with us is reserved for our sponsors and approved licencees.”

HCB were asked to sign a letter, to be returned within seven days, committing the organisation to changing its logo.

Bastin said they were not yet prepared to change the logo.

“I wrote back … to explain that the Bears are a not-for-profit community organisation staffed by a voluntary committee which is midway through preparing for this year’s Bear Essentials festival and that we need to consider the matter in more detail,” Bastin told the Star Observer.

“We were disappointed to receive the letter as HCB have been using the current logo since 1995 without any issues.”

The Harbour City Bears logo

HCB believe the logo already contained enough other elements to distinguish it from the Opera House’s trademarks.

“We don’t believe our logo is simply a representation of the Opera House as it also includes the rainbow flag colours and also features the Bear paw quite prominently,” Bastin said.

An Opera House spokesman said it made no distinction between businesses and community organisations when protecting its trademarks.

The Sydney Leather Pride Association launched a competition for a new logo in March 2011 after it received a letter asking them to change their logo of 20 years.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has not been pursued over its logo as it has entered into a brand licence with the Opera House.

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