Fletcher's Pink Batts fight to go another round

AJ Park partner Kim McLeod

Both Fletcher-owned Pink Batts and rival Knauf are appealing a High Court decision over use of the term “batt.”

A lawyer for Fletcher's subsidary Tasman Insulation,  AJ Park partner Kim McLeod, says the parties want to go to the Court of Appeal at Wellington. He expects it will be about a year before there is another hearing on the matter. 

Mr McLeod told NBR ONLINE both parties are appealing virtually everything because the decision went both ways on many issues. 

Last month the High Court made a variety of decisions regarding trademarks and the Fair Trading Act.

Justice Brendan Brown refused Knauf’s request to revoke the trade mark, although he limited Fletcher's claim of infringement of the trademark to the use of "Batt" in the HTML code on the www.earthwool.co.nz website which sold Knauf insulation, and said the use of the word in the installation instructions on the packaging didn't infringe trade mark.

"There is clearly a not insignificant degree of use of the words "batt" and "batts" to describe insulation in a generic, non-proprietary sense," Justice Brown said.

Separately, Justice Brown ruled that Knauf's insulation product Earthwool contravened the Fair Trading Act, in the use and marketing of the name, and that in future it must be accompanied by the words "glasswool" or "glass insulation" in the same font and print size.

Fletcher had argued that marketing of Earthwool was misleading because it conveyed the impression it was made from the wool of sheep or other animals when it was not.

NZX-listed Fletchers is facing increasing competition from Knauf, which has about $1.9 billion in annual insulation sales worldwide compared to Fletcher's $1.3 billion of total building product sales which also includes plasterboard, aluminium doors and windows, and roofing.

vyoung@nbr.co.nz

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