Channel 7 banned from airing allegations on imported Coca-Cola products
The Australian-owned United Petroleum chain of convenience stores has obtained a court injunction blocking television network Channel 7’s Today Tonight show from broadcasting a story claiming it sold “fake” Coca-Cola products.
Channel 7’s Today Tonight program has been ordered by the Victorian Supreme Court not to air the report. Today Tonight earlier said on its website that “consumers are being tricked into buying fake foreign products that are infiltrating stores by appearing exactly the same as the big brands”.
In actual fact, the products in question – 500ml and 375ml bottles of Coca-Cola imported from Hong Kong and the USA respectively – were found to be genuine parallel imports.
Parallel importation occurs where genuine goods are sourced from overseas markets at a lower price than the authorised product for sale in Australia without the authority of the local licensee. Parallel importation has been on the increase in Australia over the past few years.
The limitations against parallel importation imposed by the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) means that brand owners have had to rely on other intellectual property rights to protect their brands.
The case is due to return to court tomorrow (Thursday 12 January 2012).
United Petroleum Statement
United Petropleum issued a statement saying that it aggressively competes with major supermarkets to bring best pricing to its customers by sourcing Coca-Cola products legally offshore at significantly better prices and passing the savings on to its customers.
United Petroleum also said it is preparing a submission to the ACCC and hopes the ACCC will launch an investigation into Coca Cola’s pricing practices.
United Petroleum also pointed out that it does not import fake products.