17 August 2020Jurisdiction reportsMichiel Rijsdijk and Marlies Wiegerinck

Netherlands jurisdiction report: Bun fight over burgers

Impossible Foods introduced its vegetarian burger in the US in 2016 under the trademark ‘Impossible Burger’ and it became a huge success. At the end of 2018, Nestlé announced that it would launch a vegetarian burger under the name Incredible Burger. Despite infringement warnings from Impossible, Nestlé introduced its burger in the US under the name Awesome Burger.

Nestlé filed a cancellation action at the EU Intellectual Property Office against Impossible Foods’ ‘Impossible Burger’—which was registered in February 2019 for goods in class 29—claiming that the sign was descriptive and devoid of distinctiveness. Simultaneously Nestlé’s Incredible Burger was introduced in various EU member states.

Impossible Foods requested Nestlé to cease the use of its sign, but Nestlé refused to do so. Subsequently Impossible Foods summoned ten companies, all part of the Nestlé group and located in Europe, to appear before the Dutch court in proceedings.

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