Provita’s owner National Brands, a subsidiary of AVI, has lost a trademark battle against competitor Snactive after North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria concluded that its rights did not extend to the biscuit properties.
National Brands asked the court to reduce the sentence to stop the manufacture, marketing and sale of Snackactive, a competing salty biscuit that entered the market in 2012.
The company argued that the snack cookies are “nearly identical in look and feel” to the “extremely popular” Provita biscuits and trademark. He argued that the Provita biscuit shape, rounded edges, and “unique pattern of docking holes” featured on the Snactive product served to confuse the public.
But in a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on June 30, the case of National Brand v. Continental Manzox Biscuits was dismissed with costs.
Continental Biscuit Manufacturer admitted that it entered the savory biscuit to compete with Provita, but they also argued that it provides consumers with choice, and has three primary differences – brand name, packaging, and ingredients.
It argued that Provita’s trademark rights under its trademark extended to the biscuit itself and the shape.
In its ruling, the court said that while National Brands had an “express and protected right” with respect to its registered trademark Provita, it agreed that that right did not extend to the product—the biscuit itself. As such, the court found that no right had been infringed.
Snackactive, Provita’s competitor.
The ruling further found that it is “impossible to confuse the two packaging boxes” while the difference in brand names is also great, making it impossible for consumers to confuse the two. In addition, the court said, these biscuits are “luxury goods” consumed by wealthy people who are not likely to be deceived.
In issuing the costs order, the court said National Brands had dragged its feet, having begun legal action eight years after competing biscuits entered the market.