Groupe Danone has said it is "highly concerned" about the latest reports regarding the ongoing clash with its partner in China.

The French company was responding to reports earlier this week that claimed that Hangzhou Wahaha Group has won a legal ruling over its dispute with Danone regarding the ownership of the Wahaha brand in the country.

A magazine in China reported that the Higher People's Court of Zhejiang Province has taken over the legal case between the two from the Intermediate People's Court of Hangzhou.

According to the report, Danone said today (13 December), a special procedure will be adopted for this case, under which, the presiding judge may render a judgement, after internal review, without an open hearing, and such first-instance judgment will be the final one. "We are highly concerned about this," the company noted.

"As Danone Asia is a company incorporated in Singapore, our understanding is that the Intermediate People's Court of Hangzhou should serve relevant proceeding documents on us through the diplomatic channel in accordance with the civil and commercial judicial assistance treaties entered into between the PRC (People's Republic of China) and Singapore," Danone continued. "However, to date, we have not received any formal proceeding documents served by any court."

The dispute, which has been running for most of this year, centres on Danone's claims that Hangzhou Wahaha has been breaching the non-competition provisions laid out between the two in the formation of their joint venture, Wahaha. Danone has alleged that Hangzhou Wahaha has been illegally selling products identical to those sold by the companies' joint ventures.

Hangzhou Wahaha, meanwhile, has countersued Danone, claiming the French company is complicit in also competing with the joint ventures.