Wednesday 18 October 2017

Irish Breeze sues US firm in baby wipes trademark row

Irish Breeze boss Edward McCloskey and Sean Gallagher. Photo: David Conachy
Irish Breeze boss Edward McCloskey and Sean Gallagher. Photo: David Conachy
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Drogheda-based skincare firm Irish Breeze has launched a New York legal action against a US maker of baby wipes, claiming its own popular WaterWipes trademark has been infringed.

It's now seeking unspecified damages from New York company WaterPura and a connected firm, Crescent Marketing. WaterPura is owned by Emily Frazer, while she is also a director of Crescent Marketing, which is owned by her family.

Irish Breeze has been making a fortune from the wipes, with operating profits soaring in 2015 to €4.4m from €2.2m.

Irish Breeze is seeking special damages that can be awarded in the US for trademark infringement under the Lanham Act. That act allows for the trebling by a court of provable damages awarded to a plaintiff.

"Irish Breeze has suffered great detriment to its business, goodwill, reputation and profits, all to its damage in an amount as yet not fully ascertained," it told a New York court in a complaint just filed there.

It added "Irish Breeze is entitled to all remedies available under the Lanham Act", including "injunctive relief, compensatory damages, treble damages, and disgorgement of profits".

Irish Breeze is controlled by Edward McCloskey, the son of Boyne Valley Foods founder Malachy. Last year, it opened a sales office in New Hampshire as WaterWipes gained consumer momentum in America. Irish Breeze has signed deals with US retailers like Walgreens, Target and Amazon.

The wipes contain almost entirely water and no chemicals.

Irish Breeze claims the US Waterpura products "are identical products sold by Irish Breeze under the WaterWipes (trade) marks". Irish Breeze has alleged that Ms Frazer claims she began developing Waterpura wipes in 2013, when WaterWipes were already for sale in the US.

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