Court ruling bans Bob Jane from using own name

Decades ago, the advertisement that Bob Jane’s company ran on Australian television claimed ‘not even the tyres can believe the low prices’; now Judge Besanko can’t believe them, either.

On 26 November, Besanko ruled in the Federal Court of Australia that the companies Bob Jane established after departing from Bob Jane Corporation Pty Ltd in 2011 have “engaged in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive.” This deception took the form of claims that their products were “30 to 50 per cent cheaper” than the competition, even though the stated prices didn’t take into account services typically included in the purchase price, such as freight, delivery to store, removal and disposal of the old tyre, fitting the new tyre and wheel balancing.

The competition included, of course, the Bob Jane T-Marts fast fit chain established by former racing car driver Jane in 1965, a company that had grown to become one of Australia’s best-known brands. Bob Jane Corporation, now run by estranged son Rodney Jane, claimed Bob Jane’s new companies infringed upon its Bob Jane T-Marts trademark rights. Judge Besanko agreed, and ordered that Bob Jane and his companies cease selling tyres, wheels, batteries and related services under the Bob Jane name.

Bob Jane left the company he established after falling out with Rodney Jane. Jane senior – who by this time was in the public spotlight due to his tempestuous relationship with wife Laree – subsequently established a number of companies, including Bob Jane Global, Bob Jane Southern Motors and Jane Tyres.

This week’s ruling is Rodney Jane’s second court victory this year. In August the Supreme Court of Victoria dismissed Bob Jane’s claim for AU$2.9 million that he believed his son owned him. This was the case in which Bob Jane accused Rodney Jane of “robbing him of his tyre fortune and leaving him with only the roof over his head.”

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