In December last year we brought you the story of the OzEmite v AussieMite trade mark battle. As predicted, Dick Smith has lost his trademark on OzEmite, after IP Australia ruled that his business had not used the OzEmite trade mark between 1999 and 2011. The decision is a timely reminder that holding a registered trade mark in Australia is only the first step to protection. Australian law has a “use it or lose it” policy, where if you do not use your trade mark in Australia for three consecutive years, then it can be removed from the register by a third party.
The decision is a victory for small Adelaide based and family owned business AussieMite, which brought the action against Mr Smith’s business. The Age newspaper reports that AussieMite director Roger Ramsey said he was ‘delighted that the trademark umpire has ruled that the name AussieMite is ours’ and declared that he ‘sincerely hopes Mr Smith will respect the umpire’s decision’. As mentioned in our previous blog post, Dick Smith’s company has applied to register “Dinky Di-Nemite” as a trade mark and we expect to see this new brand hitting the shelves in the near future. Who would have known that imitations of the iconic Vegemite brand could be so controversial!