Greece has recently achieved a major international victory regarding the name “Greek yogurt”. The Japan Patent Office has ruled that the use of the “The Greek Yogurt” trademark by Japan’s dairy leader Meiji Co should cease.
This decision is very important for the Greek side if one considers the fact that the Japanese market has a considerable scope in the yogurt sector, with a total market worth of approximately €6 billion. Meiji Co has a 40% share in the Japanese dairy market.
At the same time, the decision halts the possible appetite of other players in the Asian dairy market to put on their products the “Greek Yogurt” brand name, especially in view of the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
The Greek action and possible response
In order to defend the “Greek yogurt” trademark, the Greek Office of Economic and Trade Affairs in Tokyo had recommended lodging a complaint with the Japan Patent Office, seeking support and positive response from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Ministry of Rural Development & Food.
Following the Greek win in this case, the Japanese dairy industry is expected to appeal the original decision, with a 40-day deadline. Greece, however, reserves the right, to seek to extend further the implementation of the decision, since the decision does not cover all uses of the trademark.
About Meiji Co
The Japanese dairy company is part of Meiji Holdings Co Ltd group, which is active in the fields of food and pharmaceuticals.
- Turnover: €10.2 billion
- Profit: €801.43 million
- 84% of sales account for Food
- 16% of sales account for pharmaceuticals