Food giant Bluebird has clung onto the CC's corn chip trademarks in New Zealand after facing what it called a "bad faith smash and grab" attempt on the brand by rival Griffin's.

Bluebird retained the trade marks - including the slogan "only CC's is tasting like these" - despite not using them from 2010 when it introduced Doritos chips into the market instead.

While Bluebird, which is owned by Pepsi, began using the trademarks again on some products from February of this year, this was well after the intellectual property stoush between it and Griffin's kicked off.

Griffin's, owned by Philippines' Universal Robina Corporation, in 2013 applied to revoke Bluebird's CC's trademarks, arguing more than three years had passed since they were used.


That same year it also filed its own application to register the CC's trade mark and argued Bluebird's trademarks would prevent this being accepted.

Although Griffin's wanted to use the CC's brand, it is unclear whether it hoped to do so for its own corn chips or for another type of snack.

During a hearing on the issue last month, Bluebird's lawyer characterised Griffins' trade mark application as a "bad faith smash and grab" attempt to misappropriate the brand.

Assistant Commissioner of Trade Marks Jane Glover noted in her decision that the "public record indicates that Griffin's wishes to own and use the CC's brand to the exclusion of Bluebird".

In siding with the current holder of the trade marks, Glover said it was clear that Bluebird did not intend to abandon them.

The company was planning to re-release the product to celebrate its 60th birthday in 2013 but this was shelved due to problems with corn supply that included a weevils infestation.

Glover also said that Bluebird has "residual reputation" in the CC's trade mark and from the early 1980s it had sold tens of millions of dollars of products under the brand.

In her decision, Glover said the trade marks commissioner's discretion should be exercised in favour of keeping Bluebird's intellectual property registered.


See the full decision here: