Big Business Bullies, Sellotape ® NZ Limited
**Press Release - For Immediate Release**
Big Business Bullies, Sellotape ® New Zealand Limited Beat Up The Public!
The Public Fight Back on the Web!
29 June 2002
Sellotape ® New Zealand Limited have recently sent out a number of letters to New Zealanders who have used the word "Sellotape ® " on their websites. It appears they are attempting to crack down on the use of their trademark in a colloquial/generic sense out of fear that their Trademark value is being diluted and that they may even lose the rights to the mark under proposed new legislation. Many of those who have received these letters and/or heard about it regard this as monumentally stupid. One such group of individuals has gone as far as setting up a web-site dedicated to parodying the situation and informing the New Zealand public what they can do to fight back against these "Big Business Bullies".
Entitled "Smellotape", a description of what this group think of Sellotape ® New Zealand Limited following these events, it features a visual parody of the real Sellotape ® website at www.sellotape.com and details the issue in an attempt to raise public awareness.
The website described the situation thus, "Sellotape ® New Zealand Limited. are trying to control how the New Zealand Public speak and write. After decades of buying their product (because we liked it), buying it so much that it became the default "sticky tape" of choice, we have come to often refer to the product category as "Sellotape" ® because of the brand's familiarity. Every time we use this we advertise the brand and product. But this is no longer good enough for "Sellotape ® New Zealand Limited.". Not content with the New Zealand public purchasing them en masse and giving them free advertising, they now want to make sure that their competitors' products can't capitalise on this, and want to make sure their brand name remains exclusive.
They cannot have it both ways, we believe. If they wish us to stop using "their name in vain" then we believe we should stop buying their product. Surely as their customers over decades we have some right to use whatever words we like rather than just being allowed to pad their profit margins. Their approach to website owners through a lawyer was no doubt a costly measure and one that is second-hand, cold and shows they are not interested in their consumers as anything but a source of income. This type of unfriendly multinational business tactic should not be rewarded. Hence, "Smellotape". "
The web site correctly references the product as "Sellotape ® New Zealand Limited." would have the public, using the ® Registered trademark symbol. It makes no false claims about their product or events and is totally legal the group behind it believes.
They describe their reasons for making the site as, "We feel that the activities of the company needed to be pointed out so that they cannot scare well meaning individuals into unnecessarily altering their innocent web publications, and cannot be let to get away with attempting to determine how the public use language. "