New mobile operator shares name with vineyard

Telco operator and wine producer in talks over naming issue

The owners of a Central Otago vineyard hope an amicable agreement can be reached with the new mobile phone company that shares more than just its name. Mobile network operator NZ Communications this week announced it would be renamed as Two Degrees Mobile, trading as 2degrees. However, there is already a Wanaka vineyard called Two Degrees, with a very similar logo. While vineyard founders Richard and Diana Somerville named their business after a two degree slope the vineyard sits on which helps "shed the inconsiderate frosts", their website also acknowledges New Zealanders' close relationships "where six degrees of separation seems to shrink to two" - the same reason 2degrees gives for its new name. A few too many similarities maybe, but Diana Somerville said the first the pinot noir producers knew about the new company was on Friday when 2degrees contacted them. They were now working with 2degrees to reach some sort of agreement. A link added yesterday to the vineyard's website redirected browsers looking for the phone company to its address, twodegreesmobile.co.nz. "We're a small company with a private vineyard which we've worked hard to establish a brand for and we don't want it in any way downgraded by being walked over by a telecommunication company," Diana Somerville said. "But there's things we can get out of it so we'll just see what happens. We are concerned and it will either be good or bad, but we haven't quite worked out which yet. That's why we're trying to talk with them and work out something that makes sense to both of us." The vineyard has not registered its name with the Companies Office although it operates from both the twodegrees.co.nz and 2degrees.co.nz web addresses, which are registered until 2012. The 2 trademark was registered but only in food and beverage areas, she said. No-one from 2degrees could be contacted yesterday. - The Press

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