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6/01/2016

Well-known winemaker allegedly using rival company’s trademark to sell wine to UK

FEATHERS are flying between two South Australian wineries over accusations a well-known winemaker is using a rival’s trademark name, Peacock’s Fan, to sell bottles overseas.

 Ken McGregor The Advertiser

A legal battle has erupted in the Supreme Court between Zonte’s Footstep and Dandelion Vineyards over who owns the controversial plonk label.

McLaren Flat-based winemakers Zonte’s Footstep used the title on its pinot noir and claims its former winemaker is now using it at Dandelion Vineyards.

In its statement of claim, Zonte’s Footstep alleges its former director, well-known winemaker and marketing guru, Zar Brooks, was engaged to copyright the label in 2010 and until recently was assumed to have done so correctly.

“In 2014, it came to the attention of management of the plaintiff that the Peacock’s Fan trademark had been mistakenly made in the name of Dandelion instead of the plaintiff,” it claims.

The documents claim Zonte’s wrote to lawyers for Mr Brooks, who is now a director of Dandelion Vineyards, asking them to correct the “error” but received no reply.

It is alleged that six months later, Dandelion began to market its wine to the UK using the Peacock’s Fan label.

“Dandelion had not been involved in any respect with the mark until October 2014. It did not conceive the mark, instruct or pay for its design, or sell or market the brand or stage name represented by the mark,” Zonte’s Footstep alleges.

Marks and Spencer currently has Peacock’s Fan Clare Valley Malbec, 2013, listed as produced by Dandelion for sale for £14 ($29).

Zonte’s Footstep alleges it has suffered loses as the vineyards are “direct competitors”.

In an affidavit lodged with the court, Zonte’s lawyers allege Mr Brooks and Dandelion had continued to sidestep the allegations and had been selling his wine with the Peacock’s Fan title overseas.

“Dandelion is continuing to utilise the trademark in flagrant disregard of our client’s ownership of it,” it says.

“This further use has come to our client’s attention recently. Mr Brooks has arranged shipments of wine to Marks and Spencer UK bearing the trademark but on bottles produced and bottled by Dandelion.

“Mr Brooks has no authority to use our client’s label and is well aware that the trademark is properly owned by the client.”

In its defence, Dandelion denies the allegations against the winery and claims there was “no error” made in the trademark process of Peacock’s Fan.

The case will return to the court at a later date.


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