For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Hard times for soft-serve? Will Mr Whippy whip Mrs Whippi?

Mr Whippy
For many Australians during the summer, it is impossible to escape the Mr Whippy van with its soft serve ice-cream. There may have been one or two instances, when this Kat was a kitten, in which she chased the Mr Whippy van up her street (all in the name of Little Athletics training of course …).

News has now reached this Kat that Mr Whippy has commenced legal action celebrity chef and Australian Masterchef judge George Calombaris, alleging that the latter has infringed the company’s trade marks.

Mrs Whippi?
Mr Whippy has a number of registered Australian trade marks: MR. WHIPPY in Class 42 for services relating to procuring and retailing of iced confections, ice cream and drinks for consumption (No 379053); Mr. Whippy for all goods in Class 30 (No 478054); Mr. Whippy for all goods in Class 29 (No 478055); and Mr Whippy and device in Class 30 for ice cream products and in Class 43 for ice cream parlour services (No 1235633).  For this reason the company was not happy to learn that Calombaris was allegedly selling an ice cream dessert called ‘Mr Whippy’ at his restaurant St Katherine's in Kew (Melbourne) for AU$9.50 without Mr Whippy’s permission. Mr Whippy is reported to have sent Calombaris a letter raising its concerns. In response, Calombaris’s lawyers are reported to have responded that the original Mr Whippy product had no reputation in the restaurant scene which to protect.  Meanwhile, Calombaris allegedly renamed his 'Mr Whippy' dessert as 'Mrs Whippi'. [If you are one of those readers who complain that the IPKat never checks his facts, please note the following:] When this Kat checked the dinner menu at St Katherine’s, she could see neither Mr Whippy or Mrs Whippi, but merely ‘St Katherine’s old school Soft Serve vanilla ice cream - please see toppings below’.

This change wasn't enough for Mr Whippy, since the company has now commenced trade mark infringement proceedings before the Federal Magistrates Court, seeking an injunction and damages. Stan Gordon, on behalf of Mr Whippy reportedly stated that it was ‘time to take a stand’: ‘We plan to enforce our rights. This is Australia and I need to protect my brand’.

In comparison Mr Calombaris does not seem too concerned, he tweeted: ‘my solicitor said that I look good in a wig and gown which is good as I am always prepared to fight for my integrity’ [that's 116 characters, well within Tweet limits] and ‘Next time you're at @StKatsKew try our soft serve ice cream, you'll enjoy it.’

The IPKat notes Mr Whippy's registration for "services relating to procuring and retailing of iced confections, ice cream and drinks for consumption" in Class 42 and wonders how well this already covers the ancillary sale of ice cream products in restaurants which, presumably, focus mainly on the sale of savoury main courses.

Merpel, noting Calombaris's cool attitude, doubts that there will be much of a meltdown before hearing in the Federal Magistrates Court.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The various Mr Whippys in my neck of the woods ( aka "poke men" ), don't seem to have any such scruples about IP rights. Unless of course the Walt Disney Company and Pixar have armies of officials working around the clock granting licences to them.

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