Saturday 17 August 2019

Air-freshener firm sues Ryanair over 'use of trademark'


Ryanair says it has stopped using the image. Photo: Bloomberg
Ryanair says it has stopped using the image. Photo: Bloomberg

Tim Healy

The company whose founder created the 'Little Trees' car air freshener claims Ryanair has infringed its registered trademark.

Julius Sämann Ltd says the airline used an image for its car-rental service which is virtually identical to its Little Trees trademark for its product used the world over as a vehicle air freshener.

The Little Trees air freshener was created in New York in 1952 by Julius Sämann, a German-Jewish chemist who fled the Nazis.

He had worked in the Canadian pine forests researching the extraction of aromatic oils from pine needles.

In Commercial Court proceedings, the company, with an address in Switzerland, says the stylised tree image was used by Ryanair in its car rental booking service and in emails sent to customers.

It seeks damages or an account of profits in relation to the alleged use of the trademark by Ryanair. The airline says it has ceased using the image and does not intend to use it again.

However, Julius Sämann Ltd says Ryanair was not prepared to give an undertaking not use it again.

The company, counsel said, was seeking a declaration that the trademark had been infringed.

Mr Justice Robert Haughton said "with some reluctance" he was admitting the case to the fast-track commercial list as it was a commercial dispute.

Irish Independent

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