If the French can do it for champagne… Xenophon wants legal protection for Australian terms, products

Image: Seven News

Image: Seven News

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon has suggested laws to protect Australian terms used by Australian manufacturers, following US company Deckers suing manufacturer Australian Leather.

“This is a battle worth having. If the French can protect the use of the word champagne, the Greeks the use of the word feta, then surely Australia can protect the use of the word Ugg for Australian manufacturers,” he told the ABC.

The comment came following the attempt by Deckers to sue western Sydney company Australian Leather over the word Ugg. Deckers reportedly sells an approximate $1 billion of Ugg boots annually.

Australian entrepreneur Brian Smith made an application at the US Patent Office in 1985 for the term, and lately sold the trademark to Deckers. It has sued two other Australian companies for the use of “Ugg”.

In a counter-lawsuit, the lawyer for Eddie Oygur of Australian Leather is using evidence such as surfing magazines going back to 1970 to contend the term was already a generic Australian one, well before any patent.