US RV com­pany wins Aussie court bat­tle

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By Mark Hinch­liffe

AMER­I­CAN RV com­pany Win­nebago plans to im­port its mo­torhomes to Aus­tralia af­ter win­ning a court bat­tle against lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers and deal­ers us­ing their brand name.

Sydney-based Knott In­vest­ments Pty Ltd has been mak­ing Win­nebago RVs for more than 30 years – but the orig­i­nal Amer­i­can com­pany, es­tab­lished in 1958, chal­lenged the Aus­tralian com­pany’s use of the name in 2010 af­ter de- cid­ing that it wanted to ex­port its prod­ucts to Aus­tralia.

The Fed­eral Court has now ruled that Knott and 11 Win­nebago deal­ers around the coun­try had con­tra­vened the for­mer Trade Prac­tices Act and the cur­rent Aus­tralian Con­sumer Law by us­ing the Amer­i­can Win­nebago name and its logo.

Costs are yet to be de­cided but the Aus­tralian com­pany, trad­ing as Win­nebago In­dus­tries, has been given time to re-brand it­self. Di­rec­tor Sa­man­tha Binns, the daugh­ter of com­pany founder Bruce Binns, has re­fused to com­ment on the de­ci­sion of the court.

Win­nebago In­dus­tries last year built a sec­ond fac­tory on its Emu Plains site in Sydney — dou­bling ca­pac­ity to cope with the expected wave of baby-boomer re­tirees.

The 47-year-old fam­ily-owned com­pany is now pro­duc­ing one mo­torhome ev­ery three hours, with a staff of 250.

Com­pany spokesman Max Mayo said ear­lier this year that Aus­tralia’s big­gest mo­torhome com- pany expected to record its sec­ond suc­ces­sive record fi­nan­cial year af­ter top­ping 600 sales last year.

Mean­while, the big Amer­i­can mo­torhome com­pany plans to move into the Aussie mar­ket with its be­he­moth homes on wheels.

Its RVs have fea­tured in Hol­ly­wood movies for sev­eral decades, in­clud­ing Lost in Amer­ica (1985), Space­balls (1987), In­de­pen­dence Day (1996), About Sch­midt (2003), Ter­mi­na­tor 3 (2003), Tal­ladega Nights (2007), Wild Hogs (2007) and Race to Witch Moun­tain (2009).

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