Glanbia hit with trademark lawsuit in California over new protein brand
Just three months after it launched its Trusource brand in the biggest US supermarket chain, Glanbia has been slapped with a lawsuit that alleges it has infringed existing trademarks.
Threshold Enterprises, which has a big presence in California, is claiming unspecified monetary damages from the Irish firm, and also accused it of "cyberpiracy".
A key part of Glanbia's expansion strategy has been its focus on performance nutrition products, a business segment that generated €923m of Glanbia's own €2.8bn revenue last year, and €135.6m in earnings before interest, tax and amortisation.
That includes whey proteins and also energy bars. The company, which is headed by Siobhan Talbot, paid $217m last year to buy US energy bar business ThinkThin. Trusource was launched by Glanbia in supermarket chain Krogers.
The brand's lines include protein powders and ready-to-drink protein drinks.
Founded by New Yorker Ira Goldberg, Threshold Enterprises employs almost 1,000 people at a facility in California, and sells vitamin and dietary supplements all over the US.
It sells 600 products under brand names such as 'Source' and 'Source Naturals'.
It says that one of the Glanbia products offered for sale under the 'Trusource' name is a protein powder supplement.
Threshold claims that's the identical type of product it sells under its own 'True Whey' line of 'Source'-branded products.
Threshold maintains in a complaint filed with a California court that it has already initiated action in an effort to block Glanbia's attempts to secure a trademark for the 'Trusource' brand. Glanbia is meanwhile attempting to have Threshold's existing 'Source Naturals' trademark cancelled.
Threshold has claimed that Glanbia's conduct in selling its Trusource brands is "likely to deceive consumers, retailers and distributors".
Threshold alleged that Glanbia has commenced the sale of its Trusource products despite being aware of the prior use by Threshold of the 'Source' and 'Source Naturals' trademarks.
The US firm alleges that its profits, sales and business are being adversely impacted as a result of Glanbia's actions.
A spokeswoman for Glanbia said: "Glanbia does not discuss the detail of any court proceedings but we will defend our position vigorously in relation to this matter."