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Cookie Time Biscuit Bucket Doppelganger



Statement From Cookie Time RE Interim Injunction Against Griffins Foods

Statement To The Auckland Herald 14-11-2000 Reporter: Dita De Boni

I understand you noted from the Court list in Auckland that we are involved in a dispute with Griffins. Further to your request, here is some factual information you asked for regarding our upcoming court case with Griffins:

On Wednesday 15th November the Court will set a date to hear the case for an Interim Injunction that Cookie Time seeks. It is likely that this Court Case will be heard before the end of November.

The parties to the legal action are: Cookie Time Limited of Christchurch, owned by Christchurch Based Family Trusts AND Griffins Foods Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of Danone Asia PTE Limited, a French or Asian owned multi-national. www.cookietime.co.nz www.griffins.co.nz and www.www.danonegroup.com

Cookie Time Limited is seeking an Interim Injunction against Griffins for what we allege is a breach of the Fair Trading Act.

When we learnt Griffins had started to promote a very similar looking product under the name Holiday Wee Chocolate Chippies in a red bucket with a green lid we had our lawyers write to them expressing our concerns.

We asked they discontinue selling this product as we considered they were in breach of the Fair Trading Act with "conduct that was misleading and or deceptive or which was likely to be so".

When this failed to get a satisfactory outcome proceedings were filed asking the Courts to determine whether Griffins has a case to answer for. We fully expect Griffins will defend the action.

Essentially, Cookie Time is alleging that the Green and Red bucket (together with it's labelling) that Griffins is using is confusingly similar to the Cookie Time bucket. If the buckets are confused by the public Cookie Time believes that Griffins will benefit from Cookie Time's 15 years of goodwill and reputation.

Additionally, Cookie Time is concerned that the fact that the Griffins product has only 375g of biscuits in the same size bucket compared with Cookie Times 650g of cookies is misleading. Cookie Time makes a fresh chewy cookie whilst Griffins makes a biscuit style product, something we do not want to be associated with.

Our Christmas Cookies have been sold for 15 years, they are a very popular Christmas product with over 165,000 buckets sold by 62 University students in 6 weeks before Christmas last year. We have invested a huge amount of time and money in building this brand, and we are not prepared to have that reputation and goodwill diluted or diminished.

Cookie Time Limited was started in Christchurch 18 years ago by the Mayell Brothers, Michael and Guy then aged 21 and 19. The company now employs 55 staff at it's Christchurch factory, cookies are delivered by Franchised Distributors to retail stores throughout New Zealand. At Christmas, Cookie Time employs 65 students to sell it's Christmas Cookies, and 25 to bake them on an extra shift at the factory.

Having said all that, we feel the Court should deal with the matter before any further comment is made. We are pleased you are planning to speak to Griffins to get their side of the story, Tony Nowell is their Managing Director.

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