Danone v Glanbia: A Yoghurt Trademark Dispute

Posted: 5 years ago in: Case Study, News, Trademark DisputePosted By admin

Danone, the large French dairy group was seeking damages from Glanbia from use of the Yoplait Essence brand name for yoghurt.  Danone contended it used Essensis as a trademark for yoghurt between 1998 and 2004 – selling 72 million pots of Total Activia Bifidus Essensis.  ESSENSIS is a registered trademark in Ireland.

Danone sought to block the registration of Glanbia’s Yoplait ESSENCE brand, and pursued a legal action for infringement of its registered trademark in Ireland.

A feature of a registered trademark is that it must be used within 5 years.  Glanbia contends that the Essensis brand was not put to genuine use in Ireland.  Glanbia also contends it would be inconceivable that an Irish consumer would purchase a Yoplait yoghurt brand item thinking it was made by Danone.

Initially, the High Court found in favour of Glanbia, and proposed to revoke the registration of the ESSENSIS trademark, on grounds of non-use and for being applicable to an ingredient as opposed to yoghurt.  Danone appealed the decision on non-use and on trademark revocation to the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court over-ruled the High Court’s judgement on revocation of the trademark, as being interpreted on a unduly narrow interpretation of the law.

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