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Netguide Magazine Wins Case Against Look-Alike

NEWS RELEASE: Immediate release January 24 2001


New Zealand's monthly NetGuide magazine this afternoon won its High Court proceedings against IDG, the publishers of a new local look-alike Internet magazine, with Justice Fisher concluding that NetGuide has a strong case against IDG.

NetGuide, through its lawyers James & Wells argued that while it welcomed competition, retailers and readers have been greatly confused. This was because IDG's new magazine (called Net Magazine) was so similar in size and appearance to the distinctive award-winning NetGuide which has been published for over four years.

After three days of hearing, the High Court in Auckland this afternoon confirmed an earlier interim injunction prohibiting IDG from producing its confusingly similar magazine. The court ruled that IDG has to make changes before it could put its new magazine back on the shelves and has given that company various options. These include changing the magazine's title or printing a prominent disclaimer on the front cover as ways to stop confusing consumers into thinking that magazine was in fact NetGuide.

The judge also awarded that IDG pay costs to NetGuide.

NetGuide's managing director Phil Ryan said it was a victory for a small New Zealand company against a big aggressive American-based publisher who thought it could "run us out of town because we have been so successful." He said IDG had thought it could do this by simply confusing the marketplace.

Mr Ryan said his company had reluctantly taken the court action after literally hundreds of NetGuide readers had complained that they had bought the rival magazine thinking it was NetGuide or had been sold the other magazine by mistake.

"Of course we welcome competition and look forward to competing with their altered magazine. Today's judgment confirms that IDG overstepped the mark in copying our magazine so closely so as to confuse and mislead consumers. Despite media commentary this case was never about the size of our magazine but rather the rights of consumers to be able to easily distinguish between products without being misled.

" IDG did everything possible to produce a clone - even copying our distinctive shop display baskets in an effort to confuse everyone. We agreed with our readers who remarked that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but we couldn't sit around and let the deliberate confusion continue as it was hurting us."

Mr Ryan says today's action may not be the end of the issue. After the court decision, IDG had indicated that the most likely course of action it would take to comply with the order is to change its name to Internet Magazine.

"I'm not 100% confident this will stop confusion in the market - in which case we will inevitably end up back in court to seek an further remedy. Even if it does stop confusion with our magazine, it's possible it will run into trouble with an existing overseas title available locally called Internet Magazine, which is published by major UK publishing group Emap."


NetGuide is one of New Zealand's fastest growing magazines and is published by the 100% privately owned New Zealand company NZ NetGuide Ltd. IDG publishes a number of computer titles including PC World.

For further information NetGuide's managing director Phil Ryan
Ph (09) 488 8080

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