The rivalry between Easy Way and Chatime has entered the courtroom.
Just to be clear, this court case does not deal with which one tastes better. Nonetheless, I assure you that it’s just as interesting.
I refer to the case of Easyway Australia Pty Ltd v Infinite Plus Pty Ltd  FCA 351, a Federal Court matter brought by Easy Way against Chatime for misleading and deceptive conduct. The judgment was delivered on 12 April 2011.
What is the case about?
Chatime claimed that its products were healthier, tastier, fresher, more nutritious, and of a higher quality compared to Easy Way’s products.
Chatime made these claims in:
- a glossy colour booklet named “Top Secrets” it distributed (below),
- an advertisement it published in Citywalker magazine, and
- an internet post it uploaded.
The court found no factual basis supporting Chatime’s claims.
As a result, the court found that Chatime’s conduct was misleading and deceptive, or was likely to mislead and deceive. This is in contravention of trade practice legislation.
Chatime has been ordered by the court to:
- publish and pay for corrective advertising in Citywalker,
- provide to Easy Way the remaining copies of its booklet for destruction, and
- disable access to, and delete the offending material from all web pages.
This page was taken from Chatime’s “Top Secrets” booklet.
The judge rejected the submission that “the easy way” referred to a healthier lifestyle choice, and that the reader would not understand it to be a reference to Easy Way’s products.
Interesting facts from the judgment
The court described bubble milk tea as “a sweet tea-based beverage which originated in Taiwan… usually black Oolong tea or green Jasmine tea… generally served cold and with milk, sugar syrup and toppings. The customer chooses the tea flavour as well as the topping. Included in the drink are tapioca balls known as “chewy pearls”. The drink is usually served in a glass or a disposable takeaway cup”.
80% of Easy Way’s gross sales income comes from its sales of bubble milk tea. For Chatime, this constitutes a significant part of its income.
Easy Way was the first group to
bring specialise in the retail trade of bubble milk tea to in Australia, and is the current market leader in this industry.
Chatime sells pre-packaged orange juice and not fresh orange juice. On the other hand, Easy Way sells juices that are freshly squeezed on site.
[For your interest: You may want to read my post of 29 May 2011 about the emerging Taiwanese food crisis involving a tainted emulsifying agent, and my post of 30 May 2011 about how Chatime became embroiled in it]