Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Knauf, Fletcher return to court over Batts dispute

Knauf, Fletcher return to court over long-running Batts dispute

By Suze Metherell

Sept. 29 (BusinessDesk) - Knauf, the German building materials firm, and Fletcher Building, New Zealand's dominant building supplies company, have returned to court for a cross appeal, the latest instalment of their long-running dispute over the use of the word "batts" to describe insulation.

Appearing in the Court of Appeal before Justices Tony Randerson, Christine French and Mark Cooper, the legal counsel for Fletcher's Tasman Insulation subsidiary, Julian Miles QC returned to the argument that Knauf's use of "batt" or "batts" on the packaging of insulation infringed the "Batts" trademark it has held since 1973.

The two building supplies companies are both appealing aspects of Justice Brendan Brown's May 2014 judgment, which refused a request from Knauf to revoke the trademark. In the same judgment, Justice Brown also limited Fletcher’s claim of infringement of the trademark to the use of “batt” in the HTML code on the website, which sold Knauf insulation, and said the use of the word in the installation instructions on the packaging didn’t infringe trademark.

Dwarfed by 11-plus boxes of files and three large rolls of Knauf insulation, Miles said the rival company first started importing its insulation into New Zealand in December 2010, originally in clear packaging labelled "loft roll". However, during 2011 Knauf began to bring in "what we understand was the same product with different packaging" which included instructions which referred to the product as "batts". Miles pointed our the difference using the three insulation rolls in the court room.

Miles argued that Knauf's use of "batts" on its packaging was a "deliberate" attempt to use Fletcher's trademarked term. He said the change from the original non-offending packaging to the inclusion of the term came after market research showed the widespread use of the term over the past four decades.

Knauf "knew (Batts) had a trademark, the only inference that you can draw from that is that they intended to undermine a trademark," he said. It was irrelevant how the term was used in other countries, as this dispute concerned only the New Zealand market.

Knauf, represented by Clive Elliott QC, is appealing Justice Brown’s ruling that the "Batts" trademarked term for insulation is not generic.

The hearing is set down for three days in the Court of Appeal, and is continuing.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


RNZ: Porirua Most Expensive Region To Rent, According To Trade Me

A rental website shows this town is now New Zealand's most expensive region to rent a house, ahead of Wellington and Auckland cities. More>>


Stats NZ: Nearly 1,000 More Big Businesses Now Than Two Decades Ago – Media Release

There are now 2,690 big businesses in New Zealand employing more than 100 staff – nearly 1,000 or 58 percent more than 20 years ago, Stats NZ said today. Over the 20 years to February 2020, the total number of enterprises in New Zealand increased ... More>>


RNZ: Housing Boom Could Get Worse, Economist Warns

Economists are calling on the Reserve Bank to reinstate lending restrictions, warning the housing market is spiralling out of control. More>>


Westpac: Sets Out Plan To Go Cheque-Free

Westpac NZ has announced details of its plan to phase out cheques, after signalling in May that it would be supporting a move to other forms of payment. Cheques will cease to be available as a means of payment after 25 June 2021. Westpac NZ General ... More>>


NZTA: Major New Zealand Upgrade Programme Projects Go To Tender

Two major New Zealand Upgrade Programme projects are beginning tenders for construction. The New Zealand Upgrade Programme is a $6.8 billion investment to get our cities moving, to save lives and boost productivity in growth areas. The first Auckland ... More>>

Reserve Bank: RBNZ Seeks To Preserve Benefits Of Cash

The Reserve Bank – Te Pūtea Matua is taking on a new role of steward of the cash system “to preserve the benefits of cash for all who need them”, Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby told the Royal Numismatics Society of New Zealand annual conference ... More>>


CERT NZ: Malicious Computer Virus Targeting New Zealanders

CERT NZ, the government agency which supports organisations and individuals affected by cyber security incidents, says a recent surge of increasingly sophisticated malware attacks is affecting everyday New Zealanders as well as large organisations. The ... More>>


Economy: NZ Small Business Recovery Continues In September

Xero, the global small business platform, today released its Small Business Insights (XSBI) for September revealing an uptick in small business jobs and year-on-year revenue growth in New Zealand. Nationwide, the average number of jobs in the small ... More>>


Courts: Businessman Eric Watson Sentenced To A Four-Month Jail Term

New Zealand businessman Eric Watson has been sentenced to a four-month jail term in the UK for contempt of court, TVNZ reports. More>>

OECD: Area Employment Rate Falls By 4.0 Percentage Points, To 64.6% In Second Quarter Of 2020

The OECD area employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – fell by 4.0 percentage points, to 64.6%, in the second quarter of 2020, its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2010. Across the OECD area, 560 million persons ... More>>

Spark: Turns On 5G In Auckland And Offers A Glimpse Into The Future Of Smart Cities

Spark turned on 5G in downtown Auckland today and has partnered with Auckland Transport (AT) to showcase some of the latest in IoT (Internet of Things) technology and demonstrate what the future could look like for Auckland’s CBD with the power of 5G. 5G is ... More>>

Stats NZ: Monthly Migration Remains Low

Since the border closed in late-March 2020, net migration has averaged about 300 a month, Stats NZ said today. In the five months from April to August 2020, overall net migration was provisionally estimated at 1,700. This was made up of a net gain ... More>>