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May 20, 2020

Bega Cheese, Kraft Heinz legal battle continues

A legal spat between Australian food producer Bega Cheese and US-based consumer goods giant Kraft Heinz over the use of peanut butter packaging looks set to continue.

By Dean Best

A legal spat between Australian food producer Bega Cheese and US-based consumer goods giant Kraft Heinz over the use of peanut butter packaging, thought to have been resolved last month, looks set to continue.

Sydney-listed Bega said it received notice on Tuesday (19 May) that Kraft Heinz has filed an application for a so-called special leave to appeal to the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia. It means that if the judge feels Kraft Heinz has a case, he or she can grant the right to an appeal.

Kraft Heinz had previously complained the yellow lid and labels on Bega’s peanut butter are too similar to its own packaging but the US company lost the initial legal action against the Australian firm a year ago. Then last month, the same court upheld an appeal in Bega’s favour, granting the business the “right to continue to use the current packaging of its smooth and crunchy peanut butter products”.

Bega acquired the peanut butter portfolio and other assets from Mondelez International in 2017. They had previously been in the hands of H.J. Heinz before its merger with Kraft Foods Group to become Kraft Heinz.

The dispute revolves around the US-based firm’s claim that Bega only had the rights to use the packaging under license until December 2017.

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