Confectionery giant Nestle has threatened legal action against a Victorian family-owned shop over the use of the trademarked term “Freckles”.
Nestle sent Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery co-founders Leanne and Ian Neeland a cease-and-desist letter mid-last year, giving them three months to rebrand more than 20 different products, including their ‘Giant Freckle’, ‘Mini Freckles’, ‘Freckle Lollipop’ and ‘Freckled Egg’.
According to Leanne, the timing is made more difficult by the regional tourism crisis, sparked first by the bushfires and now the coronavirus travel ban.
“It’s a blow.
“We’ve been dealing with the impact on tourism first from the bushfires and now the coronavirus, so it’s a constant battle for small business owners,” she told the Herald Sun.
Estimating changing all their labels will cost $5,000, the Neelands asked Nestle to give them 12 months to transition, but say they didn’t receive a reply.
However, Nestle released a statement saying it was open to working with the couple to reduce the cost and inconvenience of the transition.
“It’s important for companies to protect their trademarks by preventing unauthorised use, as if they don’t, they can lose the right to their brand names forever,” it said in a statement.
“This is why when we became aware that Yarra Valley Chocolaterie was using our trademark, we asked them to stop using it.”
The co-founders are now in the process of relabelling their hundreds-and-thousands-covered chocolate products from ‘freckle’ to ‘polka dots’.
Nestle first released and trademarked “Freckles” in 1955.