By Chris Nicholls
SYDNEY: The Federal Court has ordered the forfeiture and consequential destruction of approximately 150,000 parallel-imported Energizer batteries seized by the Australian Customs Service.
The importers, Contrade Pty Ltd, its director George Condos, and four other companies were found to have infringed on the trademark registrations owned by Energizer Australia.
According to Energizer, the companies traded on the mistaken belief that parallel imports were legal.
As a result of the court ruling, the importing company has gone out of business and the director was ordered to make a substantial payment for damages and court fees. The businesses were also ordered to hand over their existing stock of Eveready and Energizer products to Energizer Australia. The batteries seized by the Australian Customs Service were ordered to be surrendered to the Commonwealth for destruction.
John Carroll, a lawyer who manages Energizer Australia’s monitoring and compliance program, said the court order should give concern to all parallel importers.
“The actions of these companies not only jeopardizes Energizer’s reputation as a supplier of quality and safe batteries in Australia, but also threatens consumer safety and faith in the brand.
“The unauthorised importation and resale of Eveready and Energizer branded batteries for which Energizer Australia Pty Ltd owns the trademarks is an illegal practice and importers face civil and criminal proceedings.”
Carroll also said Energizer was also currently monitoring over 100 different Australian businesses, ranging from small convenience shop operators to large wholesale suppliers about their illegal sales and importation practices, and expected to launch a number of further legal actions.
Energizer said Carroll was working with Australian Customs Service and international agencies to identify the sources of the unauthorised products.