Oasis juice settles trademark fight amid consumer pressure
The Canadian Press
Posted: Apr 9, 2012 12:42 PM ET
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2012 1:34 PM ET
Quebec-based juice maker Lassonde Industries Inc. has settled a long-standing legal battle over the use of its Oasis brand name after a social media campaign threatened a boycott of its products.
"Lassonde has listened to the consumers and has decided to take a positive step in reaction to their remarks," the company said in a statement Sunday.
'"We never intentionally wanted to harm another Quebec business."— Stefano Bertolli, vice-president communications of Lassonde Industries
Based in Rougemont, Que., Lassonde announced it would compensate Deborah Kudzman, owner of the maker of Olivia's Oasis line of beauty products, for her legal expenses in the seven-year legal dispute.
"We never intentionally wanted to harm another Quebec business,” stated Stefano Bertolli, vice-president communications of Lassonde Industries.
“As was recognized by the Court of Appeal, it is essential that we protect out trademarks to avoid the creation of any precedents."
Lassonde didn't say how much compensation would be paid to Kudzman, whose nine-year-old company sells a range of hand soaps and other beauty products that use olive oil as a major ingredient.
The settlement came even though an appeals court overturned the initial court's ruling that granted Kudzman $25,000 in punitive damages and $100,000 in legal costs.
Brand protection not abusive, court finds
The high court ruled Lassonde's efforts to protect its brand weren't abusive.
The owner of Olivia's Oasis received a letter in 2005 telling her to stop using the Oasis name. (Radio-Canada) Kudzman's battle with Lassonde began in January 2005 when she received a letter telling her to stop using the Oasis name and seeking her profits.
The small company had $250,000 in revenues last year, according to La Presse. Lassonde's revenues in 2011 were more than $760 million.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Dionysia Zerbisias dismissed Lassonde's claim of trademark infringement and request in July 2006 for a permanent injunction against L'Oasis d'Olivia Inc., finding there was a "glaring dissimilarity" between the two companies' products and no chance of confusion among consumers.The judge also noted that Oasis has been used in 67 trade and corporate names in Canada, including 37 in Quebec and the company knew or should have known that.
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