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Woolworths faces court battle to use "honest to goodness"

Woolworths faces court battle to use "honest to goodness"

Woolworths and Sydney organic food supplier Organic Marketing Australia Goodness are set to go head-to-head in a trial this July after the parties failed to reach agreement during mediation last…

Woolworths and Sydney organic food supplier Organic Marketing Australia Goodness are set to go head-to-head in a trial this July after the parties failed to reach agreement during mediation last week.

Organic Marketing Australia, which trades as Honest to Goodness, first went up against Woolworths in March in a fight over the supermarket's latest marketing campaign.

Launched in the Federal Court of Australia on 16 March, Organic Marketing Australia alleges that Woolworth's Honest to Goodness Family Meals campaign that features the prominent cook Margaret Fulton infringes its intellectual property, objecting to the use of the phrase "honest to goodness".

In Woolworths' Honest to Goodness campaign, the supermarket's "fresh food chef" Margaret Fulton states, "I'm proud as punch to be bringing my Honest to Goodness Family Meals to Woolworths" and promises honest prices and fresh food.

"Woolworths has stated publicly that they continue to be open to discussion with us to resolve this issue, however this is a far stretch from the truth," said the founder and managing director of Honest to Goodness Matt Ward.

"They are being totally unreasonable and are not playing fair. They appear more than happy to try to bring us, our business and everything we have worked hard for down to preserve their latest marketing campaign. There is not a lot of honesty or goodness there."

Following an interlocutory hearing on 25 March, a Woolworths spokesperson said the supermarket strongly denies the allegations made by Organic Marketing Australia.

"We maintain that 'honest to goodness' is a commonly used term which Woolworths and other parties should be free to use," the spokesperson said.

"The phrase 'honest to goodness' describes something which is essentially simple and genuine and in the context of Margaret Fulton's family meals, also nutritious. We will continue to work with the parties involved to resolve this matter."

The trial will commence on 18 July.

Mallesons Stephen Jaques is representing Woolworths and Thomsons Lawyers is representing Organic Marketing Australia.

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