Georgie Pie fan bitten by big guys

EYE ON THE PIE: Verboom Badges owner Phil Callaghan, who has been told by McDonald's lawyers to stop selling Georgie Pie products.
ROBERT KITCHIN/ The Dominion Post
EYE ON THE PIE: Verboom Badges owner Phil Callaghan, who has been told by McDonald's lawyers to stop selling Georgie Pie products.

Verboom Badges store owner Phil Callaghan received a letter from a lawyer acting for McDonald's shortly after increased publicity for the "Bring Back Georgie Pie" campaign in May.

His shop, in the Left Bank Arcade, off Cuba St in Wellington, sells kiwiana badges and T-shirts.

In the letter, intellectual property lawyer Simon Fogarty asked that Mr Callaghan stop making two products which feature a modified version of the Georgie Pie logo.

He agreed, but asked if he could have a "grace period" to sell his remaining 183 T-shirts and 650 badges with the "Bring Back Georgie Pie" logo. "We're this little tiny shop, so I asked if I could have at least till Christmas and they agreed. I didn't expect that," he said.

In the latest letter, received from McDonald's lawyers in mid November, Mr Callaghan was warned not to challenge McDonald's ownership of the trademark, or make any more merchandise bearing the logo.

McDonald's New Zealand managing director Mark Hawthorne said the company acted on its rights as trademark and copyright owner of the Georgie Pie brand.

"We became aware in June that Verboom Badges was selling Georgie Pie merchandise, and just like any other business would, we were concerned to see an external company making use of our intellectual property for their commercial gain."

Mr Callaghan said he did not mind that he could no longer produce the goods with the Georgie Pie logo on it – but only if McDonald's brought Georgie Pie back.

"It's a dormant brand. It hasn't done anything for 13 years," he said.

"There's no such thing [as Georgie Pie], it doesn't exist. They've had it sitting in the bottom shelf.

"[Georgie Pie] is such a positive New Zealand thing ... I hope that if they do bring it back, they blow on the pie first."

Mr Hawthorne would not confirm if the pie fastfood chain was to make a comeback.

"We've been considering how to use the Georgie Pie brand for some time now, and after research are now considering our options and future steps."

The full letter from the lawyer representing McDonald's

The Dominion Post