Carey helps NotCo overturn unfair competition ruling
30 January 2024
Chilean plant-based alternative food unicorn NotCo has enlisted Carey to overturn a prior court ruling that previously barred the use of the trademark NotMilk trademark.
The initial lawsuit was filed by the Los Ríos Region Milk Producers Association (APROVAL), which called on Coz & Blavi Abogados.
The Court of Appeals of Valdivia in the southern Chilean province of Los Ríos reversed the initial judgement and dismissed the lawsuit on 16 January.
The dispute began in 2020 when APROVAL alleged acts of unfair competition committed by NotCo through the use and advertising of its "NotMilk" product.
The First Civil Court of Valdivia ruled against NotCo on 23 May, resulting in the ban on the commercialisation of the dairy-free milk product along with restrictions on the use of the trademark.
Carey took over the defence of NotCo after the first verdict, redesigning the strategy. As part of this new strategy, NotCo created a study with Casdem, Chile’s leading market research company, during the appeal. The study revealed that 99% of consumers understood that NotMilk is not dairy milk, despite the use of the word milk on its packaging.
In the recent ruling in favour of NotCo, the court of appeals emphasised that NotCo’s advertising clarifies that the product is not traditional milk.
Matias Muchnick, the founder and CEO of NotCo, announced the outcome on social media, stating: “We’re officially NotGuilty.”
Founded in 2015, NotCo produces a range of plant-based food products. It secured unicorn status in 2021 when it raised US$235 million in a funding round led by US private equity fund L Catterton. More recently, it entered into a joint venture with US food giant Kraft Heinz that will focus on sustainable products.
Counsel to NotCo
Partners Juan Carlos Riesco and Francisco Carey
Counsel to APROVAL
Coz & Blavi Abogados
Partner José Clemet Coz