Dairy group Ornua brought a trademark case in California against New Zealand’s Westland Dairy Company, alleging the Westgold butter product in the US infringes on Ornua’s Kerrygold trademark.

Ornua claims the packaging and brandname are “substantially similar” to Kerrygold, amounting to a “deliberate effort to trade off the enormous goodwill and strong reputation” that has been built for the Kerrygold brand.

Separately, New Jersey-based food importer Abbey Specialty Foods launched a case in New Jersey against Ornua, claiming the company was threatening Abbey with litigation over its Tipperary butter brand. In its defence, Abbey stated that Kerrygold is “a long way from Tipperary” and confusion was improbable.

Abbey is seeking a judgement that it has not violated any of Ornua’s rights.

A spokesperson for Ornua said the group “places the highest priority on the protection of the Kerrygold brand and its distinctive trade dress.

“In the US today, Kerrygold is the number one imported butter and number two butter overall, achieved through a combination of the high-quality of the Kerrygold product range, coupled with 25 years of brand investment in this highly strategic market,” adding that it will “continue to protect the Kerrygold brand for the benefit of our member co-operatives and in turn, the 14,000 Irish dairy farming families they represent.”

The spokesperson said they could not comment on the ongoing legal proceedings.