Three cookies leaning against a jar of milk

a2 Milk company secures trademark rights

By James Wan

What you need to know (in a nutshell)

  1. The a2 Milk Company has won the right to trademark “a2 Milk” and “TRUE A2” in a court case.
  2. A rival company, Lion Dairy and Drinks, had initially opposed the branding registration but later dropped its opposition.
  3. The court determined that the term “a2” made an “allusive reference” to the company’s products and their qualities, and the evidence provided by a2, including historical marketing surveys, “clearly established” the company’s products from other businesses.

Full Article

A2 Milk Company has won their trademark case against a rival, securing ‘a2 Milk’ and ‘TRUE A2’ as exclusive branding.

Judge Bromwich approved the registration of “a2” in a 14-page judgement, citing its allusion to the qualities and products of the company. The ruling began by analysing proteins found in milk.

The court determined a2’s evidence, including historical marketing surveys, clearly distinguished their products from competitors.

A2 has employed the branding since 2015-16, however, it conflicted with Lion Dairy and Drinks. This led to delegates of the Registrar of trademarks denying their two trademark applications in June & July 2019.

A2 applied to the Federal Court, but before a ruling was made Bega purchased Lion Dairy and Drinks and withdrew its opposition. This allowed each trademark application to proceed unhindered.

The A2 Milk Co. has gained recognition for its products which contain the naturally occurring A2 protein type, as opposed to both types of proteins found in regular milk.

The deputy registrar of trademarks could not approve the registrations, partly due to an “absolute public interest ground” in opposition. This rendered any agreement between traders irrelevant.

A2’s unique composition

Justice Bromwich had to evaluate the section of the Trade Marks Act 1995 used by delegates when rejecting original applications.

Justice Bromwich stated the company’s milk contained “A2 proteins” as with all other cow’s milk.

He stated that the applicant’s milk and dairy products don’t contain A1 proteins, which are believed to cause digestive issues for some consumers.

A2 protein is used to signify the absence of A1, not possessing any distinguishing features. There’s a great marketing benefit in having exclusive rights to use it as a brand name.

David Bortolussi, CEO of A2, declared exclusive rights to the branding for goods following successful registrations.