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Australian company can use Winnebago mark, court rules

AUSTRALIA — Last week, the Full Federal Court handed down a judgment that will have significant implications on the way brand owners think about protecting their brands in Australia, writes the Association of Corporate Council.

Winnebago Industries, Inc. brought a case against Australian business Knott Investments Pty Ltd, which had adopted and used the Winnebago brand in Australia for over 25 years. A trial judge found that Knott deliberately adopted the brand following a visit to the U.S., to take advantage of Winnebago’s reputation. The judge granted an injunction preventing Knott from using the Winnebago mark, reports the Association of Corporate Council, and ordered that Knott’s registered trade mark be cancelled.

Knott appealed, however, and last week, the Full Court decided to allow Knott to use the Winnebago mark, as long as a clear and prominent disclaimer was used near the mark, making clear that the two businesses are not associated.

For the complete story from the Association of Corporate Council, click here.

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