Mullerlight Goodies toffee flavour

Müller is confident it will continue to be able to use the ‘Goodies’ brand for its Müllerlight range, despite facing opposition from Organix over the use of the name.

The two companies are embroiled in a trademark spat that began in April 2015, when Organix opposed a trademark application made three months earlier for a Müllerlight desserts range called Goodies. The kid’s food brand already had a lineup of snacks with that name.

“We have been working towards an agreement,” said Müller Group communications director Graeme Jack, who described the matter as “routine” and predicted an “amicable” conclusion with a co-existence agreement, meaning both Goodies ranges would remain on shelf. Organix declined to comment.

Such a situation was commonplace in the trademark application process and relatively low cost, said Sarah Atkinson, trademark attorney at Urquhart-Dykes & Lord in Leeds. “Most oppositions settle with a coexistence agreement,” she added, saying the greatest concern for Organix would be the possibility for confusion on the part of the consumer.

According to Chris McLeod, the immediate past president of the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, the likely outcome would be Müller recognising the rights of Organix to use the Goodies name and agreeing to use it only in the context of the yoghurt and rice desserts outlined in the trademark application to the Intellectual Property Office.

“In return, Organix would agree to withdraw its opposition and not oppose future applications by Müller within a narrow scope,” he added.

A worst case scenario for Müller would be if Organix rejected a co-existence agreement, McLeod said. A court victory for the children’s brand in a case of infringement or passing off could lead to Müller paying “hundreds of thousands” in legal fees and rebranding costs, he predicted.

The potential weakness for Organix case was the ‘Goodies’ descriptor, said McLeod. “For food, it’s not the strongest mark.”