It appears that doughnuts and biscuits can drive some people
crackers, particularly when it involves a great Australian icon
such as the Iced VoVo.
Arnotts, maker of the delectable VoVo biscuit, has recently
threatened legal action against doughnut chain Krispy Kreme if it
doesn't stop promoting and selling its similar sounding
"Iced Dough-Vo" doughnuts, which also happens to be
covered by a flavourful pink fondant and sprinkled with coconut,
just like the 100 year old Iced VoVo brand biscuit.
Arnotts believes that the name Iced Dough-Vo is too similar to
Arnotts' Iced VoVo trade mark and is alleging breaches of the
Trade Marks Act and Trade Practices Act. Arnott's also argues
that the Iced Dough-Vo visually resembles the Iced VoVo biscuit and
is phonetically identical.
It is reported that Krispy Kreme will not change the name of the
Iced Dough-Vo doughnuts despite the sticky claims by Arnotts. The
doughnut is apparently part of the Krispy Kreme Fair Dinkum
Doughnuts promotion that aims to "pay homage to some Aussie
It remains to be seen whether the VoVo war will proceed and, if
so, what the courts will say about competitors using marketing
techniques to "pay homage" and provide further
recognition to popular brands.
Even if the dispute doesn't escalate, thanks to all the
publicity, at least the sales are likely to. In a light hearted
comment made by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in his election victory
speech of 24 November 2007, he jokingly urged his team to have a
strong cup of tea with an Iced VoVo before going to work. This
reportedly led to skyrocketing Iced VoVo sales, prompting Arnotts
to send a shipping palette of the biscuits to the Prime
Minister's office in Canberra.
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The authors discuss 5 key ways Australian businesses can mitigate risks of engaging in expensive trade mark litigation.
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