Sydney Morning Herald, 8 August 2015. Murray Goulburn’s tough lesson in Vietnam, by Jared Lynch.

An edited extract of the original article appears below.

Australia’s biggest milk processor Murray Goulburn has high hopes of strengthening trade with Asia – but it knows full well the challenges of building a successful export business.

The farmer-owned co-operative’s dairy goods have never been counterfeited – it prides itself on ensuring the integrity of its products – but its Devondale brand has been appropriated.

A former Vietnamese distributor for Murray Goulburn registered Devondale as a trademark in the country in 2013.

Devondale is not only a well-known brand in Australia, having products in most dairy categories. In Vietnam its UHT milk is regularly stocked on the shelves of convenience stores and supermarkets, and in China it’s the third-biggest dairy importer.

The Vietnamese distributor didn’t start making its own UHT under the Devondale brand, instead it pursued Murray Goulburn for trademark infringement.

The battle ended with a commercial settlement with the former distributor…

“We have taken action to ensure our trademark portfolio is protected internationally,” a spokeswoman said…

Managing director Gary Helou has repeatedly said engaging with Asia and reconnecting with the Australian market is important for the Australian dairy industry.

Asian consumers, particularly in China, have an appetite for Australian dairy products…

 

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