Bakeries at odds

2019-04-15 15:49
This photograph of Starbake bread (left) next to Sunshine bread is attached to the court papers.

This photograph of Starbake bread (left) next to Sunshine bread is attached to the court papers.

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Sunshine Bakery has taken a rival bakery to court accusing it of using similar packaging to confuse customers.

The bakery, which started in 2005 in Pietermaritzburg, brought an urgent application to the city’s high court last week. It was to stop local company Shining Star, which started two years ago, from using the packaging it uses for its 600 gram white and brown bread loaves, called Starbake bread.

Businessman Panagiotis Anastasis claims that Shining Star is unlawfully passing off its bread as that of Sunshine Bakery. He said in court papers that the other bakery has designed its bread packaging with the sole intention to deceive customers into thinking that they are in fact dealing with Sunshine.

That bakery is unlawfully tapping into Sunshine’s goodwill and reputation and is unfairly benefiting from it, said Anastasis.

He said Sunshine bread is sold to major retailers, wholesalers and independent retailers, including “so-called spaza shops”.

On March 28, one of the bakery’s promoters visited a shop in Greytown and found white and brown bread loaves on display, which were packaged in plastic bags “confusingly similar” to Sunshine’s bread packaging.

The promoter took a photograph of the bread display.

From the photo, he said it is evident that the average ordinary consumer will not be able to distinguish between the breads from the two different bakeries. The design, layout and colours used by Shining Star on its Starbake bread is similar to Sunshine’s.

Jay Jugwanth, the administration manager of Shining Star, gave numerous reasons why the matter should not be dealt with urgently by the court. He said that due to time constraints he was unable to deal with all the allegations made by Sunshine.

If the order is granted, it will deprive Shining Star from placing its version before the court, he said.

Jugwanth said that the bakery has established its state of business of producing, distributing, marketing and selling its bread to independent retailers, spaza shops and informal traders. It focuses mainly on the general market trade and the low-income earners. It has established its place in the market as well as substantial goodwill and reputation in the trading name.

Sunfresh bread, he said, is also well-known in the market and associated in the public mind — especially in the low income earning market — by its distinctive packaging.

Starbake is an extension of Sunfresh. Starbake is 600g and Sunfresh, 700g. He said that Sunshine’s issue is with Starbake, not Sunfresh.

Jugwanth denies that the packaging is similar enough to cause confusion in the minds of the customer.

No order has been granted and the case was adjourned to April 30.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court case

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