British brand of Marmite could be destroyed by Customs...
A Canterbury man is fighting to save his 2000-jar shipment of British Ma'amite from being destroyed, as a nationwide shortage of the spread continues.
Importer Rob Savage tried to bring about $12,000 worth of the UK-made Marmite, labelled Ma'amite, into the country in August.
The shipment was seized by customs at Lyttelton after Sanitarium claimed that selling it here would be a breach of copyright.
Sanitarium was forced to cease production of Marmite in March, following the closure of its quake-damaged Christchurch factory.
Savage said the UK-made Ma'amite was completely different to Sanitarium's product, and there was no breach of copyright.
The Kaiapoi man found out this morning that the battle was now heading to the High Court after Sanitarium issued legal papers in a bid to destroy his shipment.
Sanitarium has confirmed it filed the papers in the High Court on Monday.
A Sanitarium spokeswoman, Helen Achilleos, told nzherald.co.nz in August that the company had held the trademark for Marmite since 1929 and had invested in the brand since then.
Sanitarium announced on Facebook last week that although repairs to its Christchurch factory were progressing well, it was still unable to confirm when Marmite would be back in production.
Marmite was expected to return to shelves in July, but that date was pushed back to October after Sanitarium found further structural damage at the company's Christchurch factory.
The factory is the only one that makes the yeast-based breakfast spread.
As Marmite stocks began to dwindle earlier this year, the situation was dubbed "Marmageddon".
In response, Sanitarium began a "Don't Freak" campaign, including ads fronted by former All Black coach Graham Henry, amid a mass outcry over the shortage.
In April, Sanitarium threatened Bob Wren in Nelson for selling the product in his British goods shop.