Mondelez argues Whittakers trying to "leverage off our established trademark"

Mondelez argues Whittaker's trying to "leverage off our established trademark"

Mondelez International has decided to take its trademark battle with New Zealand confectioner Whittaker's to court.

The global snacks group has lodged a court appeal against a decision by New Zealand trademark officials to allow Whittaker's application to register the Berry Forest mark.

Mondelez owns the Cadbury Black Forest brand in New Zealand but New Zealand's Intellectual Property Office has argued the two labels are "sufficiently different".

However, Mondelez argues Whittaker's is "attempting to leverage off our established trademark" and has appealed at the New Zealand Wellington High Court.

"The decision of the trademark office, one, didn't give adequate consideration to the reputation we have in Black Forest and consumer awareness of Black Forest and, two, was wrong because it concluded that Black Forest and Berry Forest are not similar, when in our view they are very similar and likely to confuse consumers," a spokesperson told just-food. "We have a 20-year history in New Zealand with sales of Black Forest in excess of NZ$18m (US$14.9m) in the last five years – we found it hard to believe, that this market presence didn't translate to a view that we had an established reputation."

Whittaker's did not respond to a request for comment at the time of writing.