Food giants battle over potato chips

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It was crunch time in a Norwegian appeals court this week, as two of Norway’s major food producers, Orkla and Maarud, battled over who has the legal right to call their potato chip products potetgull. Maarud claims it has registered rights to the term, while Orkla maintains it’s a generic description for all “crispy fried slices of potato.”

Orkla pointed out that it took Maarud more than 70 years before it registered Potetgull as a brand. By that time, Orkla argued, it has already become part of the local language as the Norwegian term for potato chips. News bureau NTB reported that Orkla believes potetgull is a term free for anyone to use on potato chip products.

An Orkla attorney even produced a survey showing that fully 75 percent of Norwegians questioned think potetgull is synonomous with potato chips. That, retorted Maarud, doesn’t mean its Potetgull can’t be protected.

“This case is not just a curiosity or insignificant,” claimed Maarud’s attorney Steinar Lie. “It’s bloody serious, because Orkla is attacking a main competitor.” He claimed a lot of money was at stake and that the case can have major consequences for both Orkla and Maarud. The potato chip market in Norway is valued at NOK 1.5 billion a year. staff