Springleaf Iced Tea has been locked in a legal battle with Honest Tea Inc of Maryland for the past 18 months.
Honest Tea claimed it had rights in Australia to the phrase, despite never having sold its product in the local market.
The Registrar of Trademarks has found in Springleaf’s favour, awarding the Australian company costs.
Springleaf co-founder Annie Young said the company was established in NSW in 2005 as an alternative to other iced teas on the market which were high in sugar.
“We use the words honest tea on Springleaf labels because it’s made with real brewed tea, not tea concentrates,” she said in a statement today.
“This result lets us get on with the job of growing our business by presenting Springleaf as a real alternative to the sugary drinks pushed by the multinationals.”
NSW Small Business Minister David Campbell said the Springleaf case was the latest in a string of instances in which large US corporations had threatened small Aussie firms, including the legal battle over the Ugg boot trademark.
“I am delighted that Matt and Annie Young have won their case and had costs awarded in their favour,” he said in a statement.
“Yet, time and time again small businesses are distracted from making their companies a success by ludicrous legal battles which should never go ahead.
“It is time the federal government looked after small businesses in this country by stopping such frivolous actions.”