Kerry Group has lost a lengthy legal case it took to allow its Kerrymaid dairy brand be used in international markets. Kerry Group had originally applied to have the Kerrymaid brand registered as a trademark in the EU but this was challenged by Ornua, which owns the Kerrygold brand.
The trademark application for the Kerrymaid brand was first refused by the EU’s Intellectual Property Office in 2019.
Kerry Group then took the case to the European Court of Justice but has once again seen its trademark application rejected. In its ruling, the European Court of Justice denied Kerry Group the right to register its ‘Kerrymaid’ brand outside of the UK and Ireland as it could lead to confusion for European consumers between the Kerrymaid brand and the Kerrygold brand.
Ornua holds 18 national and European trademarks for the Kerrygold brand, which is Ireland’s most successful food brand with annual sales in excess of €1bn.
Ornua’s legal team argued that allowing the Kerrymaid brand access to EU markets would cause a blurring of the brands, particularly in key markets like Germany.
Kerry Group argued that the Kerrymaid and Kerrygold brands had co-existed in Ireland for many years with no confusion on the part of consumers. It added that the word “Kerry” was linked to the geographical origins of the product as well as being part of its corporate identity.
However, the court dismissed these claims and said it did not mean the similarity of the brand names wouldn’t cause confusion for European consumers.