Tennis star in legal row with Kellogg’s over Special K name
Thanasi Kokkinakis wants to use the term as part of a branding campaign for tennis wear
Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis wants to use the term Special K as part of a branding campaign that would include clothing and tennis wear. Photo: Getty Images
Australian tennis star Thanasi Kokkinakis is facing a court battle over his right to use his Special K nickname commercially.
A directions hearing between breakfast cereal giant Kellogg’s, which owns the right to the Special K trademark in Australia, and Kokkinakis will take 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 and a favourite breakfast cereal of Australia,” a spokeswoman for the company’s Australian division told the newspaper.
The company’s Australian trademark for the Special K brand dates back 59 years, but the cereal first appeared on the American 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 frustrating months, and admitted last week that the prolonged period on the sidelines had emotionally drained him. “It’s been shithouse,” Kokkinakis said.
Kokkinakis returned action during this week’s French Open. Playing with a protected ranking of 81, he took the first set from world No8 Kei Nishikori in their first round singles encounter, but the Australian ended up losing in four sets.