A fitness and nutrition firm in the US is claiming that Impossible Foods is attempting to “bully us into submission” in a trademark dispute.
Impossible Foods is caught up in another legal case, this time involving US fitness and nutrition firm Impossible X. In a recent statement by Impossible X founder Joel Runyon, whose umbrella venture includes Impossible HQ, Impossible Gear and Impossible Nutrition, the company alleges that Impossible Foods is “seeking to cancel our trademarks, bully us into submission, and make us pay for the entire legal proceeding.”
Describing the lawsuit as a “David and Goliath” situation, Runyon went on to say that the plant-based food tech is suing his company’s 18 “Impossible” trademarks and “requesting that their marks take priority over ours.”
Impossible Foods vs. Impossible X
“Their claims have no basis in reality, are a blatant intellectual property land grab, and unfortunately are a classic case of law fare by a large multi-national company set on bullying smaller ones to hand over their legally registered intellectual property,” wrote Runyon.
According to the case filing, it appears that Impossible X had initially sued Impossible Foods. The latest case involves Impossible Foods’ counter-suing Impossible X over the dispute.
While Impossible X was founded in 2010, Impossible Foods was created in 2011 and has since skyrocketed to global fame as one of the most well-known plant-based meat brands in the world.
Trademark disputes in food tech
The David and Goliath comparison is reminiscent of another recent legal case in the food tech world, involving oat milk giant Oatly and British family-run company Glebe Farm.
The Swedish oat milk maker lodged a trademark lawsuit against Glebe, alleging that the brand was taking “unfair advantage” of its famous oat milk drink when it rebranded its line of “Oat Drink” to be called “PureOaty”. Oatly lost the case.
Will Impossible Foods win?
Details about the latest legal dispute are still emerging, and the plant-based meat maker has not yet issued a statement about the claims made in the recent post by Runyon.
But Impossible Foods has been victorious in previous legal trademark disputes, emerging triumphant in a claim against Nestlé over the infringement of its trademark name, leading to consumer confusion. As a result, Nestlé had to rename its Garden Gourmet branded “Incredible Burger”.
The Silicon Valley startup also recently won a case over the use of heme, the GMO additive that makes its plant-based burgers “bleed” and taste meaty. The objections lodged by a food safety group about the use of heme was struck down by the court, which decided that the FDA’s decision in approving its safety had “substantial evidence”.
All images courtesy of Impossible Foods.