More publicity has arisen around alleged anti-competitive behaviour in the plasterboard market; and on an unrelated matter, it appears that both Fletchers and Knauf intend to appeal a trademark decision around insulation products.
Following our post Competition in the construction industry: Plasterboard, which referred to complaints against Fletcher’s alleged anti-competitive trade practices by rival Elephant Plasterboard; two more parties have publicly come out criticising the market leader. Recent complaints have been made by Coen Wilemse (a former industry worker) and Gamma Bracing (a supplier of lightweight framing). The Commerce Commissions investigation is ongoing and the outcome will be very interesting for the entire building industry.
On a separate front the NBR has reported that both Tasman Insulation (a subsidiary of Fletchers) and Knauf Insulation intend to appeal a recent decision around insulation products (Tasman Insulation New Zealand Ltd v Knauf Insulation Ltd  NZHC 960) (click here to read the NBR article). The High Court ruling made a number of findings, the main two being:
- the term “Batt” (a trademark registered to Fletchers) had not become a generic term for insulation in New Zealand; and
- that Knauf’s product “Earthwool” is required to also refer to the term ‘glasswool’ or ‘glass insulation’ to avoid any confusion about the product being made from sheep’s wool.
As neither party was completely successful it is likely that a number of the points argued in the High Court will be appealed.