03 Feb 2014

It's all Greek

The Court of Appeal has found in favour of FAGE in the landmark extended passing off case concerning the use of the term 'Greek Yoghurt', against defendants Chobani.

Greek yoghurt must be Greek Goldnetz

As a result of the Court of Appeal’s decision, a permanent injunction secured by Winston & Strawn for FAGE against Chobani in March 2013, preventing them from labelling their US-manufactured product in the UK as ‘Greek Yoghurt’, remains in place, and Chobani has again been ordered to pay significant costs to FAGE. The Court of Appeal held that ‘Greek Yoghurt’, sold as such in the UK, must be made by a straining process so as to remove the watery-whey, must contain no additives, and must be made in Greece. Chobani was ordered to pay FAGE’s costs for the appeal with a substantial amount (£350,000) to be paid on account shortly.

Passing off

Winston & Strawn has represented FAGE in this extended passing off case since Chobani introduced a product to the UK market in September 2012, described as ‘Greek Yoghurt’ but which was made in the USA. Prior to this time, a labelling convention existed in the UK whereby the only yoghurt available for sale under the description of ‘Greek Yoghurt’ had been made in Greece and rendered thick and creamy by straining, with no additives.

FAGE, which makes its yoghurt in Greece  has been importing and selling yoghurt made in Greece to the UK for 30 years, was awarded an injunction against Chobani and launched a legal case that went to trial in early 2013. Chobani took the case to the Court of Appeal and has now again been lost on all issues. Chobani has been refused permission by the Court of Appeal to amend their Grounds of Appeal to incorporate new European law points and have also been refused permission by the Court to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Richard Price, chair of intellectual property at Winston & Strawn London and lead lawyer on the case said, “We are delighted to have secured an excellent result for our client FAGE in this challenging extended passing off case. The Court of Appeal’s decision will ensure that the public will not be deceived by the wrongful use of Greek Yoghurt for products which do not have the right pedigree.”

Email your news and story ideas to: news@globallegalpost.com