INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cookie Time and Griffins head back to court

Published: Thu 21 Dec 2000 02:49 PM
MEDIA RELEASE: Cookie Time Limited
Thursday 21 December 2000
Talks Fail, Cookie Time and Griffins head back to court
After recent discussions have failed to settle the matter between Cookie Time and Griffins, Cookie Time today has decided that the only course open to it is to proceed and have the outstanding issues determined at full trial.
Guy Pope-Mayell a director of Cookie time Limited said "We have reluctantly instructed our solicitors today, and understand that they will be immediately taking steps to advance our case."
Cookie Time have been successful in obtaining an Interim Injunction stopping Griffins from selling their Holiday Wee Chocolate Chippies in confusingly similar Green and Red buckets, but the matter is far from ended.
There are still many issues to resolve. These include the costs incurred by Cookie Time and the issues relating to Intellectual Property.
At the request of Cookie Time, there have been discussions between Cookie Time and Griffins in an attempt to settle the conflict. These talks have failed.
Throughout this conflict Cookie Time has made every effort to avoid litigation, cost, and on-going conflict.
“We originally wrote to Griffins with our concerns. They responded by saying our claims were “without foundation”. This forced us to take legal action against Griffins.”
“Once litigation commenced Griffins made no attempt to resolve the issues happy to see Cookie Time take the costly and demanding legal path through to a court hearing.”
“Immediately following the court decision Cookie Time urged Griffins to enter into discussions. They did not respond to our requests.”
“In the following week, after Griffins media comments that they "considered the matter over", Cookie Time once again initiated contact. Discussions took place which have failed to settle the matter.”
Cookie Time believes it is reasonable to obtain a settlement from Griffins which includes two important points;
1. The actual costs incurred by Cookie Time reimbursed by Griffins.
“The courts have awarded some costs to us but these will amount to less than $5000. Our actual costs are greater than $75,000. A $70,000 shortfall.”
"Cookie Time is in no way responsible for this matter arising, nor is it responsible for dragging the issues through the courts."
“We have made every reasonable effort to avoid conflict and costly legal representation. It is beyond comprehension that Griffins would attempt to avoid meeting this cost. The fact that Griffins is a huge French owned multi-national only adds insult to injury.”
2. Intellectual Property issues.
The Interim Injunction court order stops Griffins from selling it's bucket in it's existing get up or anything "confusingly similar". But it (rightly) does not address the wider Intellectual Property issues that would define "confusingly similar" or what Intellectual Property rights Cookie Time has in it's Christmas Cookies product which would ultimately shape what Griffins could do in the future.
"We are concerned by what Griffins might choose to do next without these issues being agreed upon or defined by the court."
"Our experience to date does not give us any confidence that Griffins will not try again next year to undermine the marketing of our Christmas Cookies in an unfair manor."
As much as we would like the matter settled without further cost, it would appear that the only way that the outstanding issues will be resolved satisfactorily is with the assistance of the courts.
A full hearing will cost Cookie Time a further $150,000. A hearing date is likely by the middle of next year.
"We remain open to an out of court resolution but are comitted to ensuring that any settlement includes our full costs being met. Anything less would in our opinion be unfair."
End.
For further information please contact;
Guy Pope-Mayell Director, Cookie Time Limited Phone 03 3517736 email guy@cookietime.co.nz

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