New Zealand food company Sanitarium has won a trademark dispute against a Christchurch food importer selling a product with a similar sounding name to Weet-Bix.

The decision, released by the High Court at Christchurch on Tuesday morning, restricts the sale of British product Weetabix.

Christchurch store A Little Bit of Britain was taken to court by Sanitarium for selling Weetabix, which it imports from Britain.

Justice David Gendall granted permanent injunction and ruled that Weetabix can only be sold in specialist UK stores and the word must be covered to protect the Weet-Bix brand.


Sanitarium general manager Rob Scoines said he was "absolutely happy and pleased" with the outcome.

Scoines said the use of stickers was one of the solutions that Sanitarium had offered to Little Bit of Britain as a solution even before the matter went to court.

"It's not so much about Little Bit of Britain selling Weetabix, but more about the protection of the Weet-Bix trademark," Scoines said.

"The judgment enables us to protect our brand, which supports the employment of New Zealanders and contributes to the community."

Little Bit of Britain, which is based in Christchurch, tried to import Weetabix from the UK last August.

Sanitarium argued that Weetabix was too similar to Weet-Bix, its own cereal brand, and had hundreds of cartons stopped at the border.

A survey, released by the court found that 35 per cent of people mistook Weetabix as a Sanitarium product.

Justice Glendall said A Little Bit of Britain did not intentionally deceive the public, but consumers could be confused by the two brands.


The court ruled that Weetabix products imported for other than private or domestic use must be destroyed.

A Little Bit of Britain could not be reached for comments, but Newshub reported that shop owner Lisa Wilson was "a little bit disappointed" with the decision.

Wilson said the business will continue to import Weetabix, and has yet to decide if she would appeal the decision.