Potential confusion over milk packaging warrants interim injunction


In Agropur Coopérative v Saputo Inc, the Quebec Superior Court has granted a motion for an interim injunction ordering the defendant to stop marketing, selling and distributing milk products using its NUTRILAIT PLUS packaging.

Agropur Coopérative, a Canadian dairy cooperative, filed a motion for a provisional injunction against Saputo, alleging that the latter's packaging for dairy products put on the market under the trademark NUTRILAIT PLUS was infringing the registered trade dress of Agropur's ULTRALAIT products.

The Quebec Superior Court granted the interim injunction based on the following criteria:

  • it was a real case of emergency as each additional day that Saputo's products were on the market would cause prejudice to Agropur;

  • there was a serious issue to be tried since the problem did not lie with the word marks (NUTRILAIT PLUS and ULTRALAIT) but with the logos that are part of the get-up of the products and the presentation of the packaging; and

  • Agropur's alleged risk of losing clients and goodwill was considered irreparable harm.

A fourth criterion normally considered under Quebec law - the balance of convenience - was not reviewed in light of the clear issue to be tried.

Jean-François Nadon, Léger Robic Richard, Montreal

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