The huge US-based Coca-Cola Company is threatening to sue a small Oslo beverage company, O Mathisen AS, for infringing on its patent. Mathisen has been making and selling Tøyen-Cola, named after an eastside Oslo neighbourhood, but Coca-Cola is more concerned with protecting its drink called Sprite.
Mathisen also has started producing and selling a soft drink called Jallasprite. News service Vårt Oslo reported that Coca-Cola is demanding that Mathisen remove all bottles of Jallasprite from local stores and that all labels with the name be destroyed.
Jarle Hollerud of Mathisen claims the Jallsprite brand reflects the Norwegian verb to sprite (pronounced “spree-teh”), which means to make something fresher or stronger. “We believe Coca-Cola has no right to own that word,” Hollerud told Vårt Oslo.
The Norwegian lawyer for Coca-Cola thinks otherwise, arguing that the large beverage maker “had to take action when they discovered that someone was trying to use a trademark as a descriptive name for a citrus soft drink. Otherwise they risk that the trademark will become part of daily language as a description for citrus soft drinks.”
Norway’s patent board has decided that the possibility for mixing up Mathisen’s Jallasprite with Coca-Cola’s Sprite was strong. The decision can be appealed.