Cereal boxes ‘line-up’ in court

Breakfast cereal boxes are set out on a table in Christchurch’s High Court where Weetbix has taken legal action to protect its brand.

The cereal giant Sanitarium is taking civil action against the shops A Little Bit of Britain, which operate in Riccarton, Kaiapoi and online, over its importation of boxes of British breakfast cereal Weetabix.

The similarity of the names Weet-Bix for the Sanitarium product, and Weetabix for the British product is at the heart of the hearing before Justice David Gendall.

Various cereal boxes have been placed on the bench at the witness box where company officials are expected to give evidence over the next few days.

Sanitarium is trying to establish that the name infringes its trademark. In submissions to Justice Gendall, it said that substituting an “a” for a hyphen hardly changed the mark at all.

It also submitted that the similarities could lead to a significant level of confusion among ordinary consumers.

The hearing involves civil action taken by the Australasian Conference Association Ltd and others against A Little Bit of Britain Ltd and others.

A date for the hearing was originally set for 2017, but the case was put off to begin today.

Imports of the Weetabix consignment were stopped at the border and Lisa Wilson, who runs the A Little Bit of Britain shops, was told that a High Court ruling was required to release them.

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