Ornua and New Zealand’s second-largest dairy company are engaged in settlement discussions over a bitter trademark dispute in America over the Irish dairy group’s billion-euro butter brand Kerrygold.
According to recent US court fillings, Ornua and Westland Dairy Company are “currently engaged in settlement talks” after it initiated a case against the New Zealand group’s Westgold butter brand alleging trademark infringement of its Kerrygold brand. It claimed the Westgold mark and packaging were “substantially similar” to Kerrygold’s.
A filing showed the two parties would prefer to discuss the dispute resolution with a judge at an upcoming case management conference.
Ornua has been seeking damages and an injunction stopping Westland from advertising, marketing, distributing, or selling butter products it claims are “confusingly similar” to Kerrygold’s trademark in the US.
However, Westland hit back when it filed an opposition and a series of counterclaims.
In the filing, Westland said Ornua’s motion should be denied, claiming factors including that it failed to establish its own protectable rights in the alleged trade dress and that the trademarks are not substantially similar. It also sought to cancel trademark registrations associated with Ornua’s Kerrygold in the US.
Ornua submitted a motion to dismiss Westland’s counterclaims. It alleged the counterclaims were “mirror images” and failed to state a relief claim.
In February, Ornua agreed to terminate part of the case that sought to stop the sale of Westgold temporarily.
A court note said the agreement would see Westland stop shipping butter “in the accused packaging” to retailers in the US after June 1, 2023. They also said that Westland would provide new packaging samples to Ornua by February 23.
Both declined to comment on the discussions. Ornua has previously said it places “the highest priority” on protecting the Kerrygold brand.
Legal proceedings remain ongoing.