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Intellectual property: US yoghurt firm loses fight for 'Greek' label

American yoghurt maker Chobani has lost a legal battle in the UK courts, after a judge ruled that it must change the labelling on its Greek yoghurt products because they are manufactured in the US, reports the BBC.

The legal case against Chobani, who are based in New York, was brought by Greek company, Fage. Fage make their Greek yoghurt in Greece and base their operation out of their Athens offices.

The case hinged on whether Chobani could legitimately call their product 'Greek' yoghurt, since it is manufactured in the United States.

Lawyers representing Fage successfully convinced the UK court that British consumers were being misled by Chobani. Fage has dominated the UK market for Greek yoghurt for a number of years with its 'Total' brand.

The judge agreed that following a process to make Greek yoghurt - in which the whey is strained to produce an extra-thick yoghurt - was not enough, and that to be a true Greek yoghurt the product must be made in Greece.

The result of the judgment is that the court has issued an injunction against Chobani, effectively preventing it from labelling its product 'Greek yoghurt' for sale in the UK.

The original decision by a UK court had been appealed by Chobani, but this week a panel of three Court of Appeal judges ruled that the original judgment was correct, and upheld the injunction against Chobani.

Chobani said in a statement that it fully intended to challenge the judgment in the UK Supreme Court in due course.

"We remain of the view that the population of the UK know and understand Greek yogurt to be a product description regardless of where it is made," a statement by Chobani read.

"We remain committed to the UK market and to breaking the monopoly on the use of the term Greek yogurt enjoyed by Fage," they concluded.