Corto Olive Sues Rival Gemsa for Alleged Trademark Infringement

Corto filed a lawsuit today against Gemsa Enterprises, LLC for what Corto called a "flagrant commodity knock-off" of its 51-49 brand of blended oil.

Jul. 25, 2018
By Olive Oil Times Staff

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Corto Olive, L.P., one of California’s lead­ing olive oil pro­duc­ers filed a law­suit today in United States District Court for the Central District of California against Gemsa Enterprises, LLC for what Corto said is a fla­grant com­mod­ity knock-off of its 51 – 49 brand of blended oil.

Gemsa’s attempt to deceive cus­tomers into think­ing they are buy­ing our prod­uct is so fla­grant and detailed that we had to take action.- Tom Cortopassi, Corto Olive

A lawyer rep­re­sent­ing Corto Olive con­firmed the fil­ing and pro­vided a copy to Olive Oil Times. Gemsa did not imme­di­ately respond to a request for com­ments.

See Also:Corto Olive, L.P. v. Gemsa Enterprises, LLC

Gemsa’s attempt to deceive cus­tomers into think­ing they are buy­ing our prod­uct, instead of a com­mod­ity knock-off, is so fla­grant that we had to take action. We are deter­mined to enforce our rights in every instance that a com­peti­tor attempts to steal our intel­lec­tual prop­erty, and we will pro­tect the restau­ra­teurs and food­ser­vice dis­trib­u­tors who count on our trade­mark as the mark of pre­mium olive oil,” said Tom Cortopassi, senior man­ag­ing part­ner of Corto Olive.

According to a press state­ment, Corto sent Gemsa a let­ter in May 2018 demand­ing that it halt the use of the 51 – 49® trade­mark, but Gemsa failed to take cor­rec­tive action. Corto first became aware of Gemsa’s use of the mark in May of this year.

Defendant’s 51/49 Mark is not mate­ri­ally dif­fer­ent from Plaintiff’s 51 – 49 Mark, and Defendant’s use of the 51/49 Mark is likely to cause con­fu­sion, mis­take or decep­tion of pur­chasers and poten­tial pur­chasers as to the ori­gin, spon­sor­ship, or approval of the prod­uct,” the fil­ing said.

The pack­ages are remark­ably sim­i­lar, lead­ing Corto to argue that Gemsa intended to cause con­fu­sion: Defendant’s copy­ing and con­tin­ued use of Plaintiff’s intel­lec­tual prop­erty is will­ful, evi­denced by the extent to which Defendant has copied not only the 51 – 49 Mark but also the detail of Plaintiff’s 51 – 49 Trade Dress.”

Corto asked the court in its fil­ing to stop Gemsa from sell­ing prod­ucts bear­ing the brand; order a recall and destruc­tion of the asso­ci­ated Gemsa prod­ucts; and pay Corto all mon­e­tary gains from sell­ing the prod­uct, in addi­tion to puni­tive dam­ages and other relief.


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