NI Tayto trademark dispute hits Europe
The Northern Ireland Tayto Group - completely separate to the brand in the Republic - is going to the European Court of Justice next month in a long-running trademark dispute.
The spat stretches back a number of years. In 2006, the Office for Harmonisation of the Internal Market (OHIM) granted permission to German company MIP Metro to use the trademark 'Real' in the colour red for a wide range of products, from detergents to yoghurt. In August 2011, an application for revocation of the trademark assigned to MIP Metro was made by Tayto Group, based on the grounds that it had not been in use.
But MIP Metro said the trademark was in use across over 300 stores that stock a range of 80,000 products.
In 2013, the OHIM revoked the trademark that had been secured by MIP Metro, saying the evidence submitted for its use had been insufficient and that the registered trademark had not been used as registered.
The same year, Dusseldorf-based MIP Metro, which reported sales of €59.2bn in its last financial year, appealed that decision, insisting that the contested trademark was valid.
It won, with the OHIM stating that MIP Metro "has proven that the contested mark was put to genuine use in the European Union for the relevant period in connection with the following goods in respect of which the mark is registered".
Each party was ordered to pay its own costs.
But earlier this year, Tayto Group took its case to the European Court of Justice. It wants the court to overturn, in part, the appeal decision secured by MIP Metro and to make the OHIM pay costs. The hearing is set for next month in Luxembourg.