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From my reading of the judgement there, DB can't call a fruit/juice/syrup additive that is added to beer Radler. I.e. the resulting mix can, but the pre-mixed substance can't. Am I reading that wrong?
Social media are starting up too.
This is part of the letter we had to sign.
1. We, Green Man Breweries Ltd (GMB) undertake to DB Breweries Ltd:
(a) Not to again, and to procure that our directors, agents, employees, successors and assignees do not, produce, market, promote, sell or otherwise deal in New Zealand in any product using the term "Radler" or any visually or phonetically similar term, or directly or indirectly assist any third party to do so; and
Not a hint of anti-competitive practice in there. Yeah right.
First up, I think DB’s actions stink and I totally agree it should not be legal to trade mark a beer style, even if it isn’t well known here.
However, I’m not convinced that IPONZ got it wrong. They have to apply the law as it is, they can’t change it. Only Parliament can do that. So you can only say IPONZ got it wrong if they misunderstood the law and
applied it wrongly.
The case depended on SOBA being able to prove that radler was a descriptive term that was relatively well established among New Zealand beer consumers in 2003 (not in Germany or in 2011). If you read the decision it’s clear that SOBA tried to prove exactly that. Which suggests to me that SOBA knew
that was the correct interpretation of the law, otherwise they would have
challenged that interpretation instead of trying to prove it.
If you think SOBA DID provide enough proof, then you can criticise the IPONZ decision. Back in 2003 a small group of hard core craft beer enthusiasts would have known what radler is, but I suspect the bulk of New
Zealand beer consumers, who buy mainstream brands, probably would not have
heard of radler.
It looks to me as if the problem is the law itself. It would be more productive for SOBA to concentrate on pushing for a law change so that it can’t happen again.
John Campbell rocks!