Galway egg firm fails in injunction bid
Judge rejects claim competitor used similar packaging to plaintiff
The phrase ‘Galway free range eggs’ was used by both companies
A company selling free range eggs has been refused an injunction restraining a competitor using allegedly similar packaging for its product.
Galway Free Range Eggs Ltd, who sell eggs under the “Galway Free Range Eggs” brand, had claimed Hillsbrook Eggs Ltd and its directors Kevin O’Brien and Carmel O’Brien had passed off the plaintiff’s product by offering goods for sale under the name “O’Briens of Galway Free Range Eggs.”
Galway Free Range Eggs Ltd sought an injunction, pending a full hearing, restraining the defendants packaging or promoting their eggs under the name “O’Brien’s of Galway Free Range Eggs”.
The plaintiff, of Craigmore, Claregalway also sought orders requiring the defendants, of Barnaderg, Tuam, to clearly distinguish their goods.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said he was not satisfied the packaging used by the defendants “was likely to deceive the public”.
He ruled the plaintiff company had not, at this point in time, made out a serious issue to be tried in relation to its reputation or goodwill having been damaged by the defendant’s product. He accepted there were issues to be addressed at the full trial.
The plaintiff, he noted, had for many years been “a substantial purchaser and vendor” of eggs supplied by local producers and a “leading supplier of free range eggs in the west of Ireland”.
Their eggs come from farms that have achieved the highest standard of production and excellence, he added.
He said the defendants, one of the biggest egg producers in the west of Ireland, used to sell their products to the plaintiff but, from July 2012, began packing their own eggs and selling them as “O Briens of Galway Free Range Eggs.” The plaintiff was unhappy with the use of the terminology “Galway Free Range Eggs” on the defendant’s packaging.
It was apparent the plaintiff’s only real complaint was the use of the word “Galway” on the defendants’ packaging, he said.
He believed there was no great similarity between the packaging of the two products. The plaintiff used a white six unit box different in colour and design to the box used by defendants, which is yellow in colour. The labels on the boxes were also distinctly different, he added.