SupplyNet ponders action over naming rights

GSB Supplycorp's e-procurement portal SupplyNet is weighing up action against systems integrator Axon, after Axon began selling its e-procurement application under the SupplyNet name.

A battle is brewing over the SupplyNet name.

SupplyNet, the e-procurement portal owned by GSB Supplycorp, is investigating whether to take action against systems integrator Axon, after Axon began selling its e-procurement application under the name. But Axon says it has a trademark pending on the name to use the SupplyNet name.

Axon’s SupplyNet is the outcome of three years’ work by the company’s eFormation software development division to create an e-procurement solution aimed at midrange companies. Axon uses the application internally as the engine behind its online sales service Quality Direct.

The e-procurement application has been selected by Foodstuffs to build a portal to provide online purchasing and product information for each of Foodstuffs’ subsidiary wholesale companies – Toops in Wellington, Trents in the South Island and Gilmours in Auckland.

Meanwhile, GSB-owned SupplyNet was launched in May last year as an electronic trading hub linking suppliers and corporate customers. It is taking advice, including legal advice, on the ownership of the name.

“It’s a question of who had use first,” says managing director Garry Fissenden. “We’ve known for a while they had an internal system called SupplyNet but this is the first time, that we’re aware of, that it’s been used in the public arena.”

Fissenden says he has had comment from people that they thought his company had done a deal with Axon and that it could be confusing to the market.

Axon eFormation general manager Scott Green says Axon's trademark gives it priority. “We have, on that basis, preferential rights to use the name.” Green says Axon had had discussions with Fissenden's predecessor, Carlos Martinez, about SupplyNet’s use of the name.

It won’t be the first tussle over naming rights in the local IT industry. Last year the free ISP Splash Net was forced to change its name because it infringed the trade mark of the customer relationship management application Splash-Net by US-based StayInFront. And in 1998 local software company Jade took on Computer Associates over the name Jade and won the right to use it in Australia and New Zealand.

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