Dick Smith files appeal to reverse OzEmite decision

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 19th March 2014
Dick Smith has appealed the trademark decision that favoured Adelaide-based AussieMite

Electronics retailer and food manufacturer Dick Smith has filed an appeal against an administrative decision of the Registrar of Trade Marks to remove the trademark registration of Dick Smith’s OzEmite yeast spread product.

The appeal, which was filed in the Federal Court of Australia on 18 March 2014, will be a rehearing of the removal application in which the Federal Court will consider evidence in support of the continuing use of OzEmite. The OzEmite trademark will remain registered and the OzEmite product will remain on the supermarket shelves until the appeal has been determined.

“Since October 1999 I have been devoting considerable cost and effort to develop the OzEmite product,” Dick Smith said.

“Approximately one year after I announced the name, ‘OzEmite’, Roger Ramsay changed the name of his product from Dinky Di-Nemite to AussieMite, in what I believe was an attempt to misappropriate the reputation in my product and confuse consumers. The Federal Court will be asked to prevent this from happening,” Mr Smith said.

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.

Mark O’Brien of Johnson, Winter and Slatter, who is acting as lawyer for Dick Smith, said he expected the case to be heard later this year.

Australian Food News reported earlier in March 2014 that Intellectual Property Australia had previously ruled that the OzEmite product must not be sold with brand name.