The fight for dominance in the UK milk bottle market has taken a litigious turn, with bottle makers Nampak and Alpla set to face off in court over patent rights.
Nampak has filed proceedings against Alpla at the High Court, claiming Alpla has infringed one of its patents in making its Eco milk bottle.
Nampak produces an environmentally friendly milk bottle called Infini, which uses less plastic than conventional bottles and is in direct competition with Alpla’s Eco.
Nampak is seeking an injunction against Alpla for infringing the Infini patent, as well as damages. The company declined to comment on its decision to sue Alpla other than confirming it was in an “ongoing legal dispute” with its rival because it believed its Infini bottle patent had been infringed.
However, Alpla said that it had no case to answer. “Alpla believe the product in question does not infringe the patent, and believe the patent is invalid in any event,” its UK general manager, Arnold Mitterer, said in a statement. “We are vigorously defending the case and are very confident of a positive and favourable outcome in due course.”
This is not the first time the two have clashed. Last year, Nampak sent a video to key dairy and retail buyers, showing its Infini and Alpla’s Eco bottle being dropped from a helicopter to illustrate Infini’s robustness. Infini is used by a number of the mults, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons.
Meanwhile, Alpla was appointed by Arla to be the bottling partner at its new Aylesbury dairy.