Traditional Irish bread manufacturer McCambridge is suing a rival for alleged copying of its bread packaging, claiming that consumer could easily confuse the two brands.
The trademark infringement case involving the manufacturer and competitor, Joseph Brennan Bakeries, will be heard on 21 July in the country’s Commercial Court following plenary proceedings filed yesterday.
In an affidavit, Michael McCambridge, chairman of the Dublin based McCambridge firm, said Brennans is marketing and selling bread in packaging that is confusingly similar to and “clearly derived” from McCambridge packaging, reports the Irish Times.
The chairman argues that McCambridge bakery is well known for its Irish stone-ground wholewheat bread, sold as a rectangular 500g ready-sliced loaf in plastic resealable packaging.
Brennans, who denies the claims, has also sold a sliced wholewheat brown loaf for the last 12 to 14 years.
But Michael McCambridge, said that in 2008, that bread manufacturer changed its packaging to incorporate the colour green in what he, with hindsight, believed was the start of a process of “deliberate mimicking” of the McCambridge product.
The McCambridge’s spokesperson added that, according to market research, his firm was the leader in the market for traditional bread in Ireland with a 30 per cent market share.
Kate Colleary, senior associate and intellectual property expert at Eversheds O'Donnell Sweeney, said that while there may be “a case to answer” in relation to the alleged product mimicking, she said that the Brennans logo was quite distinctive, a factor that could potentially weaken the defendant’s ‘passing off’ claim.
But she noted precedent in a similar case from 2007 where Dublin based biscuit and cracker maker Jacobs won an injunction in the High Court against the launch of the McVitie's fig rolls in Ireland by UK manufacturer, United Biscuits.
Jacobs had also argued that the packaging was deliberately similar to that of its own fig roll product and would confuse consumers.
Fast tracking hearings
Ireland is fast gaining a reputation in Europe as having a system that enables quick expedition of intellectual property cases, according to Colleary.
She cites the unique case management approach of the Irish Commerical Court as a factor in its ability to fast track these kind of cases: "The McCambridge case will be heard in two months. In the UK, the timescale involved would be more likely in the region of two years,” added the IP specialist.