Impossible food forces Nestlé to stop selling ‘Incredible Burgers’ in Europe

The Hague District Court last week issued a ban in favor of a US startup preparing to launch Impossible burger in Europe, court papers show.

According to the preliminary ruling, Nestlé infringed the trademark Impossible Burger, which was registered in the European Union last year, by naming its product Incredible Burger. The court said the words “impossible” and “incredible” sound and look similar, and the overlap can confuse buyers.

Nestle (NSRGF) they were given four weeks to withdraw their “amazing” products from vendors or face 25,000 euros ($ 27,700) a day in fines for each of his 10 subsidiaries involved in the case.

“We are disappointed with this interim judgment because we believe that everyone should be able to use descriptive terms such as‘ amazing ’to explain product qualities,” Nestlé said in a statement. “We will, of course, abide by this decision, but we will also file an appeal in parallel,” it added.

Nestlé said it was preparing to launch a new recipe for burgers using the “Sensational” descriptor. He will apply that name to all the products that used the word “Incredible” in Europe before, including his imitation meat pate, which is becoming a “Sensational Burger”. The company uses Awesome Burger brands in the United States.

The growth in plant protein consumption has dragged established food producers like Nestlé into a fight for market share, while allowing newcomers like impossible food and Behind the meat (Byndom) spread like wildfire. Impossible Groceries provided about $ 500 million fresh funding in March, as a sign that investors are betting that the trend will stay here. Meat shortages in the United States linked to a disorder caused by a coronavirus pandemic has prompted consumption of meat substitutes even higher.

Nestlé contacted Impossible Foods in the summer of 2018 to agree on a possible licensing agreement relating to the Impossible Burger, the ruling said, citing legal submissions filed by Impossible Foods.

The global food giant has announced the launch of the Incredible Burger while these negotiations are still ongoing, raising suspicions that it is trying to “frustrate the successful launch” of the Impossible Burger in Europe, the court found.

Nestlé, which has previously sought to invalidate the Burger trademark, launched its amazing burger in Europe in April 2019. under its Garden Gourmet brand. This was followed by the September launch of the Awesome Burger in the United States. According to the verdict, Impossible Foods was written by Nestlé USA in January 2019 warning that the Incredible Burger violates the U.S. trademark Impossible Burger.

“Impossible Food” is waiting for European food safety regulators to approve the genetically modified ingredients contained in its burger, the ruling said. The impossible burger contains soy leghemoglobin (heme), a genetically modified yeast, which makes it taste like meat.

The American startup last year filed similar bans against Nestlé in German regional courts, but withdrew them after the courts told them they would not be granted.

The Impossible Food statement says it welcomes efforts to develop plant products, but does not want to confuse consumers. “We are grateful that the court recognized the importance of our trademarks and supported our efforts to protect our brand from the intrusion of a powerful multinational giant,” said Chief Legal Officer Dana Wagner.

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