Dick Smith loses OzEmite trademark battle

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 5th March 2014
Dick Smith has lost the trademark battle to Adelaide-based AussieMite

Food manufacturer and electronics retailer Dick Smith has lost the name rights to its version of the popular Australian yeast spread, with Intellectual Property Australia ruling that OzEmite products must be pulled from sale.

The legal battle over name rights with Adelaide small business AussieMite began in 2011, when AussieMite Founder Rodger Ramsay filed to have the OzEmite trademark removed.

The OzEmite trademark was registered in October 1999, but was not approved until 2003 and Dick Smith did not launch the product until 2012. The AussieMite trademark was registered in 2001, approved in 2006.

Under Australian trademark laws the owner of a trademark has the obligation to use it within five years, or a third party is able to have it removed from the register. When Dick Smith launched the OzEmite product eight years after the trademark had been approved, Mr Ramsay had already filed to have the trademark removed.

Intellectual Property Australia decided that because the OzEmite brand had not been used in the three years prior to 2011, the trademark should be removed.

AussieMite has been sold in Australia and the UK since 2001.

In response to the verdict, Rodger Ramsay posted a YouTube video about the trademark victory.

“Having won that battle we’re now backed by Intellectual Property Australia and the decision that our trademark AussieMite is the only true Australian product to be sold under that name,” Mr Ramsay said.

Mr Ramsay said he hoped this would be the end of the lengthy legal battle.

“We hope he [Dick Smith] will respect the umpire’s decision, which has backed our brand,” Mr Ramsay said. “We would like for it to grow and for it to be in every household within Australia,” he said.