Danone wins Glanbia yogurt action
FRENCH dairy giant Danone has won its legal action against Irish dairy company Glanbia over the introduction of the 'Yoplait Essence' yogurt product.
Danone had claimed that Glanbia infringed Danone's Irish trademark 'Essensis' by the use of the Yoplait 'Essence' brand name on a range of probiotic yogurts produced by Glanbia in Inch, Co Wexford.
Glanbia had denied the claims and, in a counter-claim, it contended that Danone had not put its Essensis Irish-registered trademark to genuine use in Ireland within the past five years. It sought to have the mark revoked.
In the High Court in 2007, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan found that the Essensis trademark should be revoked.
She said it had not been put to genuine use within the State in relation to yogurt within the five years since its registration was published in July 2000.
Yesterday, however, the Supreme Court upheld Danone's appeal.
Giving the three-judge court's unanimous judgment, Ms Justice Fidelma Macken said Danone had established sufficient facts about its use of the Essensis trademark, upon which the High Court should have concluded that the use of that trademark was genuine in relation to the yogurt products.
She ruled the High Court had, through an "unduly narrow" application of the principles related to trademark use, misdirected itself in law.
On that basis, she set aside the High Court decision and made an order refusing Glanbia's application for revocation of the Essensis trademark.
The court then adjourned the matter to allow the sides consider the judgment.