RV builder Winnebago Australia has officially changed its name to Avida Motorhomes, following a legal dispute with Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries Inc. over the name of the company.
SmartCompany.com reported that the Australian firm is currently appealing a Federal Court decision which last year found it had infringed the copyright of the American company and had capitalized and taken advantage of the company’s brand.
An appeal has been launched, but isn’t due to be heard until March 26 and a decision may not be reached until June. For now, the company has changed its name to Avida Motorhomes.
Avida sales and marketing manager Max Mayo told SmartCompany that changing the name was a difficult process.
“Everyone is used to Winnebago so it was very hard,” he said. “When determining what the name was about we employed a professional branding company and discussed the psychology of names.”
In a statement, the company said Avida is “a brand name that is totally Australian, one that focuses on everything Australian.”
The name change follows a volatile legal battle. Bruce Binns owns the Australian company and Justice Lindsay Foster found Binns, through his company Knott Investment, acted knowingly to gain financially from the reputation of Winnebago Industries.
“I find that, by choosing to exploit the Winnebago name and the Winnebago logos, he was intending to gain for himself as much benefit as possible in Australia from the goodwill and reputation of Winnebago and its recreational vehicles,” Binns said.
“His decision was motivated by a keen appreciation that he and his associates would gain financial benefit from using the Winnebago marks in Australia.”
The family owned and operated company began in 1965, but it wasn’t until 1978 it became Winnebago Australia.
A settlement agreement was reached between the Australian and American brands in September 1992 and Binns registered Winnebago as a trademark in Australia. But legal action soon followed.