April 12 (UPI) -- The makers of Kerrygold Irish butter filed a lawsuit against Wisconsin-based Old World Creamery and Eurogold to block the sale of butter under the name Irishgold.
Ornua Foods North America Inc. and Ireland-based Ornua Co-operative Ltd. filed the lawsuit on Monday. The Ornua companies said they took legal action to prevent the sale of Irishgold, the name of which the companies said "obviously derived" from Ornua's Kerrygold.
"This is an action for immediate and permanent injunctive relief barring defendants from advertising, marketing, distributing or selling butter products using trademarks that are identical or substantially similar to Ornua's federally registered trademark Kerrygold, which is famous in Wisconsin and throughout the United States for Ornua's top-quality Irish butter," the companies allege in the lawsuit.
In Wisconsin, laws require retail butter sold within the state to have either a Wisconsin or federal grade mark and because Kerrygold is graded, produced and packaged in Ireland, it cannot be sold in Wisconsin.
In March, the Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty conservative group filed a lawsuit on behalf of residents seeking to overturn a law banning the sale of Kerrygold Irish butter and other brands not tested and graded by official state butter tasters under the 1954 state law.
"We are prepared to respond and vigorously defend Old World Creamery, LLC and Eurogold USA, LLC against the allegations raised by Ornua," said Sherry Coley, an attorney with David and Kuelthau s.c. representing Old World Creamery.
The Ornua companies also allege Old World Creamery used packaging "substantially similar" to the Kerrygold product, which "shows a deliberate effort to trade off the enormous goodwill and strong reputation that Ornua has built up in the Kerrygold brand for many years."
"Defendants could have chosen any name for their new product. Instead, they intentionally chose a name and packaging confusingly similar to the Kerrygold mark in order to take advantage of the publicity surrounding the current unavailability of Kerrygold Irish butter in Wisconsin," the lawsuit alleges. "The harm that Defendants will cause, and intend to cause, is incalculable."