The Irish distributor of Kerrygold butter won an emergency restraining order against a Wisconsin creamery after alleging the creamery backed out of an agreement to process Kerrygold locally and later created its own nearly identical product, “Irishgold,” infringing Kerrygold’s trademark. Ornua Foods N. Am., Inc. v. Eurogold USA LLC, No. 17­0510 (E.D. Wis., filed April 10, 2017). A Wisconsin federal court granted the order after finding Ornua Foods, Kellygold’s maker, likely to win the trademark case it filed on the merits.

After Kerrygold became the top-­selling imported butter in the United States, Wisconsin removed Kerrygold butter from stores under a statute requiring all butter sold in the state to bear either a Wisconsin or federal grade mark. After the ban, Ornua Foods began working with Wisconsin state officials and defendant Old World Creamery to process the Irish-­made butter a second time, making it eligible for a state grade mark. The suit claims that during contract negotiations but after Ornua disclosed its product specifications, Old World formed a new business entity called Eurogold then told Ornua it would package butter for another Irish company instead. The Chicago Tribune reported that Old World had developed a “workaround” to sell Irish butter in Wisconsin under the Irishgold name but illustrated the story with a photograph of Kerrygold butter. The complaint claims Irishgold packaging bears font and illustrations of black and white cows “identical or substantially identical” to those on Kerrygold packaging.

Ornua claims federal trademark infringement and dilution, unfair competition and false advertising, unfair competition and misappropriation and seeks an injunction and attorney’s fees.

 

Issue 631

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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