US olive oil producer Corto Olive has sued its competitor Gemsa Enterprises for trademark violation, claiming that Gemsa’s similar oil packaging infringes on Corto’s trademarks and branding.

In the lawsuit, filed at US district court for the central district of California on 25 July, Corto alleged that Gemsa “prominently used” the 51-49 trademark, registered to Corto, on extra virgin olive oil and canola oil packages.

“Gemsa’s packaging is virtually indistinguishable from Corto Olive’s and is likely to cause confusion among Corto Olive’s customers and potential customers, and irreparable harm to Corto Olive’s business,” the firm said.

Corto had in May 2018 sent Gemsa a letter demanding it halt the use of the 51-49 trademark, but said that Gemsa had failed to take action, leaving Corto with no choice but to sue.

“We are determined to enforce our rights in every instance that a competitor attempts to steal our intellectual property. We will protect the restaurateurs and food service distributors who count on our trademark as the mark of premium olive oil,” said Corto Olive senior managing partner Tom Cortopassi.

Corto’s 51-49 branded olive oil was intended for use in salad dressings, warm entrees, light sautéing and signature sauces and it was marketed to restaurants through foodservice distributors.

In addition to 51-49, Corto’s brands include Truly Extra Virgin Olive Oil and La Padella.