EU-wide victory for Simplot against McCain in potato design case

HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER represents the J.R. Simplot Company in a cross-border Community design dispute against McCain Foods, relating to the shape of Simplot’s proprietary twisted French fry potato product. Simplot argued McCain’s “Rustic Twist” french fry infringed their Community design.

Through coordinated seizure description proceedings conducted in Belgium, France and the Netherlands, Simplot first succeeded in determining the location where the infringing potato products were manufactured.

On the basis of the information gathered, we obtained an EU-wide preliminary injunction for Simplot against McCain in the Netherlands. In a decision of 21 May 2019, the Court of Appeal of The Hague has now upheld the decision in first instance, agreeing with Simplot that McCain’s “Rustic Twist” potato product infringes Simplot’s Community design and confirming the injunction.

In parallel, the Brussels office successfully defended Simplot’s Community design registrations before the EUIPO in various invalidity actions filed by McCain. The first invalidity action brought by McCain against the Community design in dispute in the Dutch proceedings was dismissed on 6 July 2018 (an appeal is pending). Ten out of eleven subsequent invalidity actions against other Community designs were dismissed on 8 April 2019.

Simplot’s Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Vid Mohan-Ram, said he is “very pleased with the diligent and firm approach” taken in both the injunction and invalidity actions and that “Simplot will continue to enforce and defend its intellectual property rights in Europe and internationally.”

In the Netherlands, Simplot is represented by Laura Fresco and Roeland Grijpink.
In Belgium, Simplot is represented by Carl De Meyer, Eleni Foscolos and Eva De Pauw.
In France, Simplot is represented by Denis Monégier du Sorbier and Marc  Lauzeral.