An Australian milk startup’s trademark has been stolen by China before production even got underway. Upon registration with the China Trademark Office, Tori Best found that her brand label “Farmer’s Brown,” designed for sale in both Australia and China, was already registered by Chinese-owned Putian City Federation Trading Company, along with the specially-designed logo of a flying cow.
What’s more, a website called Fujian Province AuMake — linked to the Chinese company through a shareholder — was found to be already using the stolen label to sell ice cream, claiming to be made from coveted 100% Australian milk.
Best believes that her logo, designed by a production company from Melbourne, was leaked after husband John shared it with a business associate.
“There are pirates out there who will literally stockpile hundreds of trademarks,” commented Best’s Hong Kong-based lawyer Dan Plane, on the matter of China’s first-to-file laws. “It’s not overly expensive and then they just sit back and wait for the owner of the mark to come forward and hope for a return on their investment.”
Australian wine-maker Mark Arnold, who barely saved his label Picarus from the same Chinese company, can commiserate.
“I think there needs to be an awareness that this occurs, and I think the Australian Government needs to realise that this is a problem,” Arnold declared, “It is going to become an increasing problem, unless steps are taken to do something about it.”
Fortunately, Best has been able to challenge the Putian City Federation Trading Company’s lodging thanks to the three-month opposition phase. However this all ends, Best is already in good company with the likes of Eminem, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama.
By Pinky Latt
[Images via Flickr]