Dick Smith stores may have shut down earlier this year, but Mr Smith has received the great news that he has won a decade-long trademark battle against the owner of AussieMite, Roger Ramsey.
Mr Ramsey, who owns All Natural Foods, the producer of AussieMite, had tried to eliminate OzEmite off the trademark register.
M Smith commented, “It just seemed sensible to me that our OzEmite name we came up with it first, and we should be allowed to keep it.
“If we lost this, we would have had to close down the business.”
The Australian businessman created the name OzEmite in and lodged an application to trademark the name back in October 1999. This happened 18 months before Mr Ramsey registered AussieMite in May 2001.
However, Mr Ramsey told the courts that he gave instructions to change the name of his product from Dinki-Dinemite to AussieMite in September 2000. He was aware of Mr Smith’s OzEmite label.
While it is recognised that the name OzEmite was registered first, Aussie Mite hit the shelves a full 10 years before their competition. OzEmite wasn’t launched until 2012.
This legal decision will further stimulate confusion, according to Mr Ramsey’s daughter Elise Ramsey.
“The names sound exactly the same. I’m a bit tired of explaining to potential suppliers that the two products are different.”
OzEmite was borne from Dick Smith’s food after Kraft rejected his offer to buy Vegemite from them.
“Kraft, they must think it’s the most wonderful thing to see two Aussie companies fighting and no one’s concentrating on the fact that we should be buying Vegemite back.
“OzEmite’s a good product, but I’d like to buy Vegemite back. I know I could easily float a company, we could buy that back from Kraft.
“Imagine if we owned Vegemite again, then we could start buying back some of these brands like Arnotts.”
Mr Smith aims to bring Australian yeast back onto homeland territory. However, instead, “we spent half a million dollars defending our name instead of going on charity.
“Whoever could believe that we’d end up with a court case that’s cost over half-a-million dollars, someone trying to stop us using our name, it’s just a nightmare.”
Mr Ramsey was ordered to pay for Mr Smith’s legal cost by Anna Katzmann SC. He has two weeks to appeal the decision.