US-owned Australian biscuit company Arnott’s is suing Dick Smith Foods for selling a range of chocolate biscuits called Temptin’, which Arnott’s claims infringes on its Tim Tams trademark.
Arnott’s argues that Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith’s Temptin’ biscuits appear too similar to Tim Tams. On the packaging of Temptin’ biscuits the letter p is in a different font so that the “Tem” and “tin” appear to be two separate words, packaging which is unacceptable to Arnott’s.
“We made sure the packs were completely different because we knew the Temptin’ name was having a go at them – we wanted people to know our product was the Australian one,” Smith was quoted by the Australian as saying.
Smith also said he expects to be forced to abandon the case as he cannot match the financial power of Arnott’s owner, US food company Campbell’s, which “can spend a million dollars on the case and not even notice it, but force us into bankruptcy”.
“Everyone knows if they throw large amounts of money at it we will have to give in, but it will be a bit of a hollow victory for them because Aussies will know what’s going on.”
Arnott’s wants Dick Smith Foods banned from selling Temptin’ biscuits, and has also sued for damages and costs.
“It is a brand name that we own and we are looking to seek and protect that trademark,” Arnott’s spokesman Peter West said outside court. “There is no doubt that it will change over time to become more like Tim Tams if we let it, and that’s what we are not prepared to do.”
The hearing has been adjourned until 2 June.
Meanwhile, a Queensland council has banned Tim Tams from its chambers, a move aimed at showing support for Smith.
Ipswich City Council deputy mayor Paul Pisasale said he believes Smith’s brand Temptin’ has no reference to Arnott’s Tim Tams. He further claims that the case is about corporate bullying, reported ABC News.
As well as banning Tim Tams from council meetings, Pisasale has urged local residents to support the Australian product.
Not everyone sees the case as a matter of Australian patriotism, however. Some consumers recognise Arnott’s right to protect its brand from infringements and look on the design of Temptin’s as a clever marketing ploy.