08:32, June 08 55 0 theguardian.com

2017-06-08 08:32:02

 

Special K: tennis player in legal battle with Kellogg's over nickname

Australian tennis star Thanasi Kokkinakis is facing a court battle over his right to use his Special K nickname commercially.

A directions hearing between Kellogg’s, the breakfast cereal maker that owns the right to the Special K trademark in Australia, and Kokkinakis took place in the federal court in Adelaide on Thursday.

Kellogg’s wants to stop the 21-year-old from using the term Special K as part of a branding campaign that would include clothing and tennis wear, the Adelaide Advertiser says.

“Special K is obviously an iconic cereal brand for Kellogg’s in Australia,” a spokeswoman for the company’s Australian division told the newspaper.

Justice Brigitte Markovic sent the case to a mediation conference in August. She also allowed Kellogg’s extra time to amend its statement of claim and for Kokkinakis to file a defence. The case will return to the federal court on 31 August.

The company’s Australian trademark for the Special K brand dates back 59 years, but the cereal first appeared on the US market in 1955. Throughout its history it has been marketed as a low-fat, low-sugar breakfast and targeted at dieters.

Kokkinakis has endured a frustrating run with injuries in the past two years and fell outside the world top 1,000. At one point, he managed only one top-level singles match in 20 months. He admitted last week that the prolonged period on the sidelines had emotionally drained him. “It’s been shit-house,” Kokkinakis said.

The sportsman returned action during the French Open this week. Playing with a protected ranking of 81, he took the first set from world No 8 Kei Nishikori in their first-round singles encounter, but the Australian ended up losing in four sets.