Nestlé has lost a burger name battle to Impossible Foods. In April 2019, the Swiss food giant launched the vegan Incredible Burger under its Garden Gourmet range in Europe. According to California-based Impossible Foods, the burger’s name was too similar to its own Impossible Burger.
Impossible Foods registered the Impossible Burger as an EU trademark in 2019 for plant-based burgers and other products. After Nestlé launched the Incredible Burger, the brand sued the food giant for infringement in the District Court of the Hague.
The court ruled that the Incredible Burger is too similar to the Impossible Burger. It noted that the likeness could confuse consumers.
It noted that the words “incredible” and “impossible” are visually similar. Both words have the same starting letter, the same number of letters, and the same ending.
‘Incursion From a Powerful Multinational Giant’
Nestlé plans to file an appeal. It has agreed to change the Garden Gourmet burger’s name to the Sensational Burger in the meantime. A spokesperson explained that the name “evokes the ‘senses’ that are stimulated by our burger.”
“With this evolution, we continue to focus our energies on what really matters to consumers – delivering truly outstanding plant-based products that are good for you and good for the planet,” they added.
Impossible Foods is currently gearing up to launch the Impossible Burger in Europe. It is waiting for European food safety regulators to approve its inclusion of heme, an iron-rich genetically-modified molecule that gives Impossible meat its realistic flavor.
Nestlé now has four weeks to remove its Incredible products from the shelves.
Dana Wagner, Impossible Foods’ chief legal officer, said in a statement: “People specifically seek out Impossible Burger because it’s a superior product unique in the world of plant-based food.”
“Our company has intentionally built and nurtured a strong brand and passionate global fan base,” he added. “While we applaud other companies’ efforts to develop plant-based products, we don’t want consumers confused by simulacra.”
“We’re grateful that the court recognized the importance of our trademarks and supported our efforts to protect our brand against incursion from a powerful multinational giant.”