It has emerged that Cream Holdings, which has owned the Creamfields mark since 1998, has opposed an attempt by Tesco to register Creamfields as a trademark for certain products, including milk, dairy products, eggs, jams and preserves.
Tesco uses Creamfields as a tertiary brand for own-label dairy products and tried to register the mark in September 2008, prompting Cream to file an opposition with the Intellectual Property Office.
In July, Tesco decided to narrow down the types of goods it would like to use the Creamfields brand on, removing from its application meat, fish, seafood, poultry and game.
The two companies are now in a cooling-off period, designed to encourage negotiation and a settlement outside the courts, and the IPO will next review the case on 6 October.
If Cream is successful, it would stand a good chance of also being successful in any infringement proceedings, which could lead to Tesco having to stop using the trademark.
Cream's mark is registered for a range of non-food categories such as entertainment and concert services but also for water, non-alcoholic drinks and beer, which could potentially conflict with Tesco's use of the brand for milk.
Only about 5% of all trademark applications met some sort of opposition and the vast majority of disputes were resolved by settlement out of court, said Tom Farrand, a partner at law firm Harrison Goddard Foote.
Cream would need to establish that there was sufficient similarity between the two trademarks that the average consumer would be confused as to which company was behind a particular Creamfields-branded line.
It takes an average of 12 to 18 months to conclude a contested case before the Trade Marks Tribunal.