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Cookie Time Limited fighting for China trademark

17 February 2012

Cookie Time Limited fighting for China trademark

Cookie Time Limited (CTL) is going into battle against a Chinese company attempting to hijack the Cookie Time logo.

CTL late last year filed an opposition to the application by Qingdao Chengze Trade Co Ltd to register the Cookie Time logo in China. However, it has now been advised that it may take up to two years to hear the case. The Chinese company application to the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) uses identical artwork to the stylised Cookie Time logo.

The Chinese application is also blocking CTL’s own attempts to trademark its Cookie Time brand in China. CTL is in major growth mode, counter-cyclical to market conditions, and is actively exploring licensing opportunities in a number of markets.

While trademarks and patents for CTL brands are already in place in Australia, Canada, Japan, the United States and the European Union, CTL is in the process of registering its brands in a number of additional markets, including China. Until the Qingdao application is resolved, however, CTL’s trademark application for the Cookie Time brand in this market cannot be actioned.

Lincoln Booth, CTL general manager, says the company is taking a hard line in defending its intellectual property, and the two year delay on hearing the case in China is a serious concern, especially given Apple’s current issues over the iPad trademark in China. A Chinese company is seeking a ban on iPad imports and exports.

“The iPad issue in China definitely raises major flags for us. We’ve got some big growth plans and opportunities in play, and we will not tolerate other companies attempting to cash in our own brand equity or steal a march on us in offshore markets,” Booth says.

“We are totally focused on ensuring our brands are well protected with appropriate trademarks and patents. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but for companies with iconic brands it is something that needs to be constantly guarded against.

With Cookie Time, it is unclear whether the Chinese company is seeking to use the logo itself, or use it to extract a payment from CTL. CTL has not been approached by the company.

Smart entrepreneurship and innovation are central to CTL’s DNA, with an ongoing new product development stream feeding its three core brands – Cookie Time, Bumper Bars and One Square Meal – a world first meal bar that delivers one third of daily nutritional requirements. One Square Meal has just been launched in major Australian supermarkets in a licensing deal with Sanitarium.

CTL has been making its iconic Cookie Time branded cookies since 1983, and has previously seen off a Hong Kong company which produced a rip-off chocolate chip cookie and packaged it identically.

About Cookie Time Limited

Founded in 1983, Cookie Time Limited is an entrepreneurial, innovation-led food company. Its business includes franchised distribution and retail, licensing and manufacturing operations. Headquartered in New Zealand, the company is actively focused on international franchise and licensing opportunities.

Committed to quality, operational excellence and ongoing growth, this successful iconic company has a substantial portfolio which includes some of New Zealand’s most loved food brands, and innovations such as gluten-free cookies, and Smart Cookies with the National Heart Foundation tick. It also makes Bumper Bars and the world-first meal bar One Square Meal – a breakthrough bar that delivers one third of daily nutritional requirements.

In 2010, CTL opened its first full-scale retail space, the Cookie Time Cookie Bar in Queenstown. The company employs more than 80 full time staff at its Christchurch head office, factory and food science laboratory. In addition, more than 40 independent franchisees distribute Cookie Time products throughout New Zealand.

ENDS

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