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Farmer-Owned Cooperative Sues Over Grassmilk Trademark

Milk jars.

Front view of a drinking glass, a bottle and a jug filled with fresh organic vegan milks surrounded by oat flakes, soy beans, quinoa seeds, rice grains, spelt grains, hazelnuts, almonds and coconuts pieces. Low key DSLR photo taken with Canon EOS 6D Mark II and Canon EF 24-105 mm f/4L

Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools (CROPP), “the largest organic farmer-owned cooperative in North America,” filed suit in the Western District of Wisconsin Thursday, alleging that the defendant, Mana Foods International, infringed on its valid trademark for various trademarks connected to its Grassmilk product.

The marks at issue include GRASSMILK, GRASSMILK FOR KIDS, and ORGANIC VALLEY GRASSMILK. The products also contain a Certified Grass-Fed Organic Dairy certification trademark, which the plaintiff says “indicat(es) that CROPP farmers and its co-processors comply with a third party audited set of standards.”

The complaint explained that the marks are incontestable. The products are the number one grass-fed milk brand and the number one organic grass-fed dairy brand,” the complaint said.

The defendant, which does business as Zeal Grass Milk Creamery, uses a Grass Milk trademark that is purportedly “nearly identical to CROPPS’s GRASSMILK trademarks.”

“Zeal has sold hundreds if not thousands of products bearing CROPP’s intellectual property and has profited handsomely from sales of the Infringing Goods,” the complaint said. They said they sent a cease-and-desist letter in July that has not been effective.

The counts enumerated in the complaint include trademark infringement, unfair competition, and common law and state law equivalents. They are seeking an injunction blocking further infringement, treble damages, and a disgorgement of profits. They are represent Boardman & Clark LLP.

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