Global sporting giant Adidas is embroiled in yet another row, this time with a Whangarei businessman who has been banned from importing goods bearing the sports retailer's trademark.

The High Court in Auckland's ruling against Forrester Hilton came just weeks after New Zealand Customs Service seized seven shipments of counterfeit Adidas and Reebok branded basketball tops which were addressed to relatives of Hilton and were "of a number" considered to be too great for personal use.

Documents filed to the court by Adidas show the retailer's trademarks or trademarks confusingly similar to their trademarks were applied to the goods without the company's permission.

Adidas's lawyer Amy Kingston said Hilton was known to import counterfeit items from China and sell them from a stall in Whangarei's town centre.


Commerce Minister Simon Power said the sale of counterfeit goods was a growing problem which was hurting the productivity and financial viability of businesses.

The passing of legislation yesterday that cut compliance costs for businesses while cracking down on people who import and sold counterfeit goods, sent a strong message that New Zealand was not an easy target for illicit trade, he said.

The Trade Marks (International Treaties and Enforcement) Amendment bill gives new powers to the Ministry of Economic Development and the Customs Service to investigate and prosecute people involved in the manufacture, importation and the sale of illegal goods.

The case comes just a month after Adidas became the target of public condemnation over the price of its All Blacks replica jersey.

The black jerseys cost between $190 and $220 in New Zealand, but were selling for $96.50 on a US website and $128 on a British site, excluding postage and packaging.

At the time Adidas said the price reflected its investment in the game.