Dick Smith says OzEmite-AussieMite trademark battle a case of IP Australia “being manipulated”

ozemiteDick Smith’s Vegemite alternative OzEmite could disappear from supermarket shelves as the result of a legal battle which Smith claims is an example of  IP Australia “being manipulated”, and has refused to fight.

Smith told Mumbrella the case of Aussie Mite owners Roger Ramsey and daughter Elise seeking to have the OzEmite brand struck off the trademarks register is essentially “someone trying to steal the trademark of somebody else, and they’re probably going to get away with it.”

The OzEmite trademark was registered in October 1999 while AussieMite was registered in May 2001. Smith makes a range of Australian-grown food, which he tried to promote in a “banned” Australia Day ad earlier this year.

“He’s taking us to see if he can remove the OzEmite trademark because he said we didn’t use it for a three year period,” Smith adding he is refusing to appear to defend the claim to avoid spending funds destined for the charities the product donates to.

“We’re not even going to the case today, I’m not going to spend one cent on lawyers. If they settle on striking it out, we’ll just come up with a new name,” he said.

“If we pay money to lawyers and solicitors it’s less going to charity,” he added.

AussieMite was embroiled in controversy earlier this year following an ad which showed Catholic worshippers dipping sacramental wafers into the spread.aussiemite Smith also received complaints from consumers who believed the ad was for his product OzEmite.

“I got complaints because I’d attacked their religion,” he said. “But it had nothing to do with me.”

Smith said he welcomes the competition from AussieMite, telling Mumbrella there is room for both products in the market.

“I’m not objecting to the fact that he stole our name, or something very similar, and I think we should be able to continue selling our product,” he said.

“I won’t be there today. I understand he’s going to have his barrister and everything there so it’ll be his barrister against nobody, just our letter.”

Miranda Ward


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