Bega claims win in Peanut Butter War
Bega Cheese has claimed victory in its long-running Peanut Butter war with Kraft Heinz. The High Court of Australia dismissed Kraft's Application for Special Leave to appeal to the country's highest court, in the legal proceedings in relation to the right to use the current packaging of its smooth and crunchy peanut butter products.
The dismissal means that the decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia handed down in April this year on this issue will stand. As a result, it confirms Bega Cheese’s right to use the trade dress currently used for its peanut butter products. The decision also means that Kraft Heinz has no further legal avenues for appeal in Australian courts.
While ASX-listed Bega is probably best known for its cheese products, three years ago it bought Kraft subsidiary Mondelez Australia (formerly Kraft Foods). The billion-dollar acquisition of assets and goodwill saw Bega enter the peanut butter business.
After the deal was finalised, to Bega's surprise, both parties sold peanut butter across Australia in jars that were very similar. And both parties eventually counter-sued each other in the Federal Court under Australian competition and consumer law for deceptive and misleading conduct.
After several rounds in court, the decision finally puts an end to the long-running peanut butter war. Bega shares closed slightly down at $5.11 on Friday.