JAPAN: Kirin may sue rival over label confusion
A label design is threatening to erupt into a legal war between two of Japan's biggest brewers Kirin Brewery and Sapporo Breweries Ltd. Kirin is threatening to sue its rival because it believes the label design on Sapporo Fine Lager beer is a copy of its Kirin Lager Beer.
Kirin has already sent Sapporo a written notice demanding it replace the red and white design after it received over 100 complaints from consumers saying they had confused the two products, Kirin said. It claims the label infringes laws on unfair competition.
Kirin has given Sapporo only ten days to respond and said it would not hesitate to file a lawsuit.
The written warning is at least the second correspondence over the label as Kirin also wrote in early January when Sapporo's lager was launched saying consumers may confuse the brands.
But Sapporo denied having copied the label. Sapporo has said it devised the label based on a survey of consumer preferences on label design.
Sapporo Breweries has said it aims to almost triple operating profit within three years....
Falling sales of traditional beers and increased competition in the "third beer" category have seen Sapporo Holdings report a 22% fall in 2005 net profits....
Sapporo Holdings has lowered its full-year profit forecast....
Sapporo Breweries has reportedly become the first major Japanese beer maker to warn of flat domestic beer sales this year....
Sapporo Breweries is poised to buy Kikkoman Corp.'s spirits sales and production operations....
Sapporo Breweries has said that sales its of so-called "third category" beer would fall by 30% if the government goes ahead with plans to raise the tax rate on the product....
Sapporo Holdings has registered a massive drop in operating profit for the first nine months of this year....
Sapporo Breweries has raised its sales targets for its low-alcoholic fruit drink brand "Fruit Sparkling"....
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