Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Marmite saga heads to court....

 
Food giant Sanitarium has begun legal proceedings against a small Canterbury importer over an alleged trademark infringement.
While New Zealand Marmite has been off the shelves for months, 2000 jars of British Marmite are under lock and key, and the battle over the spread is set to go to the High Court.
Rob Savage, owner of Savage Imports in Kaiapoi, attempted to import the British Marmite seven weeks ago but it was blocked by Customs and has sat at the Port of Lyttelton ever since.
Mr Savage said the claim that the British Marmite infringed on the New Zealand Marmite trademark was ridiculous: "They look different, they're a different colour."
British Marmite, owned by Unilever, is available in New Zealand under the label Our Mate.
Savage Imports is a small business which imports products from the UK. Mr Savage, a British ex-pat, said he sold and stocked products for homesick Brits.
The jars being fought over are labelled Ma'mite, for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, but Sanitarium says that is not different enough.
After the holding period expired, Mr Savage contacted Customs to finally get hold of his Marmite, only to find that Sanitarium had decided to take the matter to the High Court. He said he would fight the case.
If Sanitarium is successful in its action, Mr Savage will have to pay for the Marmite to be taken to a landfill and buried.
Sanitarium general manager Pierre van Heerden said the company had owned the Marmite trademark for 80 years.
"We have worked hard to build it, and we need to take steps to protect the trademark."
- Trish Plunket of the NZ Herald
Acknowledgements: APNZ

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