Innocent Vitamins Refutes Innocent Drinks’ Trademark Claim
West Sussex – Recent claims made by Fresh Trading Ltd, manufacturers of Innocent smoothies and majority-owned by The Coca Cola Company, regarding trademark infringement by Innocent Vitamins and Nutrition Ltd are refuted by the company’s founder, Mrs Dawn Reid. As pointed out to Fresh Trading’s lawyers, Fresh Trading does not have a trademark in Class 5 over the word ‘innocent’ in respect of vitamin supplements. It is noteworthy that Fresh Trading only applied for a trademark covering vitamins at the end of January 2011, five months after Innocent Vitamins’ children’s multivitamin was launched and available for sale.
Following substantial research into the children’s vitamin market, in June 2010 Mrs Reid launched Innocent Vitamins and Nutrition Ltd. She wanted to bring to market a multivitamin and mineral supplement that she was happy to give to her own children, completely free of any sugars, sweeteners or additives. This idea meant departing from the market norm which was to produce chewable vitamins for children that often contain additives, sugars, artificial sweeteners, bulking and gelling agents.
The name chosen – Innocent Vitamins - reflects the absence of additives and communicates the nature of the product and the choice of name was, itself, entirely innocent. The use of a common English word like ‘innocent’ has been adopted by numerous brand owners and attracts limited trademark protection as it is used to describe a product of unadulterated nature.
The adoption by Fresh Trading of the common word ‘innocent’ does not give it a monopoly in relation to goods outside those for which it has sought and obtained trademark protection. As pointed out to Fresh Trading’s lawyers, their recent application for a trademark in Class 5 covering vitamins has all the appearance of a business which regrets that it did not seek trademark protection in relation to vitamin products, and has now identified a product which might prevent it from diversifying into that field. It is Innocent Vitamins’ opinion that Fresh Trading now seems to be claiming infringement unfairly in order to remove this obstacle to their possible future business plans.
Innocent Vitamins and Nutrition has filed its own trademark application in order to recognise the rights it has already acquired under common law. Fresh Trading’s lawyers wrote to Innocent Vitamins and Nutrition on 14 Feb 2011, just two weeks after Fresh Trading had applied for a Class 5 trademark in relation to vitamins, claiming trademark infringement on a trademark that Fresh Trading has not been granted.
Innocent Vitamins maintains its position that there is no confusion, or likelihood of confusion, with Innocent smoothies. Both the point of sale packaging and http://www.innocentvitamins.co.uk make it abundantly clear that the product was developed by Mrs Reid, inspired by her two children as depicted in photographs on the product packaging, the company website and advertising. Smoothie drinks and vitamin supplements in a capsule form are two distinctly different products.
It is worth noting that in the UK and EU, there are many brand owners using the word ‘innocent’ as listed by the Intellectual Property Office http://www.ipo.gov.uk for the UK and http://www.oami.europa.eu for European trademarks.
“I genuinely believe that my company can peacefully coexist with Innocent smoothies, and I would be delighted to meet up with them as we have already offered,” stated Mrs Reid. “My aim has always been to bring a healthy, sugar and additive free vitamin supplement to market and I am delighted with the positive response I have received from parents, shop owners and, most importantly, children.
“Innocent Vitamins and Nutrition Ltd has not been notified of any court proceedings by Fresh Trading Ltd, nor is it the wish of Innocent Vitamins to enter into court proceedings. We look forward to existing harmoniously with Fresh Trading Ltd for many years to come and wish them every success with their business.”
About Innocent Vitamins and Nutrition Ltd
The company was launched in June 2010 by Mrs Dawn Reid to provide a healthy, sugar and additive free multivitamin with minerals for children. The product, suitable for vegetarians and vegans, is available online through its website http://www.innocentvitamins.co.uk, selected supermarkets and independent health stores.
For more information, please contact:
Mrs Dawn Reid (Mother and Managing Director)
Innocent Vitamins and Nutrition Ltd
West Sussex RH19 3TA
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