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HomeNEWSChristchurch store relieved trademark battle over Weetbix settled

Christchurch store relieved trademark battle over Weetbix settled

The small Christchurch store at the centre of a trademark battle is looking forward to again being able to sell British made Weetabix.

The cereal giant Sanitarium took Christchurch store A Little Bit of Britain to the High Court over its British cereal Weetabix, arguing it breached the Fair Trading Act.

Sanitarium claimed customers could be misled into thinking the imported version was in fact its own Weet-Bix product.

Justice Gendall today released his reserved decision which said there was no chance of customers being misled, given the cereal was only on sale at a British speciality goods store.

However he did find importing the item with a similar name breached the Trade Marks Act and the store would need to cover up the Weetabix label if it was going to sell the cereal in future.

The store’s owner, Lisa Wilson, said this would not be a problem as her customers were more worried about what was on the inside of the packet than the label.

She is anticipating a surge in demand from ex-pats starved of their Weetabix for the past 18 months.

“Normally we sell a pallet a month and I thought crikey we might need to get two or three just for the first month [to] clear the backlog but I’m sure with it being gone for a year and a half that it is definitely going to be the best seller for the next while anyway.”

Sanitarium said this was the outcome it was looking for as it would protect its brand and prevent any confusion.

A statement from the company said the outcome would allow ‘A Little Bit of Britain’ to continue selling Weetabix in a way that respected the Weet-Bix brand.

The judge has asked both sides to make submissions on whether either side should be liable for costs.

Because of the Trade Marks Act breach, the 108 cartons being held by Customs will have to be destroyed.

The judge made the point that the cereal was already past its use-by date and would not be able to be sold anyway.

This story originally appeared on Radio NZ.

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