Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) is aggressive when it comes to protecting its globally known PINK LADY brand. The Australian company owns PINK LADY trade marks in more than 80 countries, and has legally challenged other businesses that may dilute the distinctiveness of these trademarks.

One of APAL’s most recent cases is against the UK grower AC Goatham & Son. AC Goatham launched Flanders Gold in 2019, which is an exclusive apple variety named after the company’s Kent farms. AC Goatham registered the Flanders Pink trade mark in the same year.

The Pink Lady Wins against British Brands

A year after obtaining its trade mark, AC Goatham surrendered the Flanders Pink brand and renamed its exclusive apple variety to ‘Reveille.’ Reports suggest that APAL protested against the trade mark, forcing the UK grower to surrender Flanders Pink.

APAL refused to respond to the story, despite repeated requests for comment.

This isn’t the first time APAL has threatened legal action against British brands. Earlier this year, the Australian grower also challenged Stirling Distillery, which introduced its Pink Lady Gin in November 2020.

June and Cameron McCann, owners of the small Scottish distillery, said that the Pink Lady Gin line is inspired by local folklore. They took the name from the legend of a ghost who haunts Stirling Castle, a young woman who died of a broken heart after her lover was killed.

Unfortunately, the ghost of Stirling Castle shares the name of a globally known apple brand. As such, the Australian firm sent a letter to Stirling Distillery, warning that APAL ‘does not tolerate use by a third party of their well-known PINK LADY brand for goods or services, in particular food and beverage products’.

To avoid expensive litigation, Stirling Distillery was forced to rename its gin products to Stirling Pink Gin. The move, however, still cost the Scottish business around £5,000 since they had to replace existing branding materials.

The Pink Lady in Chile

One of APAL’s most complicated cases is against Pink Lady America (PLA). The case sprung from a long-standing agreement between PLA and APAL. PLA transferred the ownership of Pink Lady trade marks in Chile to APAL, ‘in exchange for an exclusive licence to use trademarks for all relevant apple products between Chile and North America royalty-free in perpetuity’.

The agreement meant that PLA can use the trade marks on an exclusive and royalty-free basis to export Pink Lady-branded apples from Chile to North America. However, APAL argued that their contract didn’t cover the usage of the Pink Lady flowing heart logo.

In December 2012, APAL tried to register the flowing heart trade mark in Chile but PLA filed an opposition. Then, PLA attempted to register the same trade mark in September 2013.

The legal battle finally ended in 2016. APAL was successful in its appeal, with the Court of Appeal in Victoria declaring the Australian brand as the true owner of Pink Lady trade marks in Chile.

These are only a few examples of how APAL defended its trade marks. Businesses, whether big or small, can take their cue from APAL when it comes to protecting their intellectual property from infringement issues. The first step is to register your trademarks as soon as possible.

Specialists in Australian Trade Mark Registration

If you need assistance with the registration or any other trade mark concerns, Pinnacle TMS is here to simplify the process for you. We use our proven two-step method to expedite the process, making sure that you gain ownership of your trade mark before someone else does.  

For enquiries about our services, call us at +61 2 9520 4366 or book your complimentary consultation.