Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised to review legal advice that led to a retiree being threatened with court action unless he pulls down his "save Medicare" website as intellectual property experts questioned the strength of the government's position.
Sydney grandfather Mark Rogers has drawn a wave of support from across Australia after Fairfax Media revealed his David and Goliath battle against the Department of Human Services, which has threatened to sue him for "injunctive relief, damages and costs" for what it claims is the unauthorised use of Medicare's green and yellow logo.
Mr Rogers has so far defied the Department's demand, delivered by the Australian Government Solicitor, to shut down his website within 48 hours and agree to never use Medicare branding again.
Mr Turnbull was asked for a second time on Thursday why his government was targeting a retiree with a little-visited website that campaigns against cuts to Medicare.
"I will speak to the minister, I will have a look at the legal advice and I will review it," Mr Turnbull told Parliament.
Earlier, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge indicated he backed the department's pursuit of Mr Rogers, insisting it was not a matter of seeking to shut down free speech as the retiree and some legal academics have insisted.
"The Department is concerned about the misuse and misrepresentation of the Medicare brand, not legitimate use in public debate."
On Melbourne radio on Thursday, Mr Tudge could not say if any member of the public had complained about being misled by Mr Rogers' website.
Mr Rogers said he had been flooded with offers of legal assistance and financial backing to fight the government.
In less than 24 hours, more than 26,000 people had signed a GetUp! petition in his support.
"The feedback is that the government does not have a valid case on the basis of copyright and they are just trying to crush me," Mr Rogers said.
Matthew Rimmer, Professor of Intellectual Property at Queensland University of Technology said he was "puzzled" that the government would push so hard against an individual who was clearly not trying to misrepresent Medicare in any commercial sense.
"I'm not sure they have picked the right target here. I'm concerned it's overreach in terms of copyright law and trademark law," Professor Rimmer said.
"Medicare has been politically contested and used in all sorts of advertising, particularly in during the last election.
"This whole thing would have a much different complexion if it was a commercial player like a bank or insurer using the name Medicare but if you look at Mr Roger's website, it is clearly not pretending to be Medicare, who is it going to mislead?"
Kimberlee Weatherall, University of Sydney's intellectual property expert, has also warned against copyright being used as a "tool of censorship" by government.