SodaStream has said it will fight the legal action

SodaStream has said it will fight the legal action

SodaStream will continue a global rollout of an outdoor marketing exhibit despite a cease-and-desist letter from Coca-Cola South Africa.

The letter warned SodaStream of copyright infringement over its use of Coca-Cola, Fanta and other Coca-Cola-owned brands in the exhibit at Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo airport. The exhibit, referred to by SodaStream as The Cage, displays empty soda cans and bottles to highlight how SodaStream's reusable products can save waste.

But yesterday SodaStream said it would go ahead with more exhibits to add to those in New York's Times Square, Oxford Street in London and ten other countries.

“Our Cage experiential activity has been very successful over the past two years and there are currently no plans to halt any upcoming installations,” SodaStream told just-drinks yesterday (19 June).

SodaStream did not say where the new exhibits would be.

Coca-Cola South Africa confirmed it had sent the letter, which SodaStream received on Monday.

“Coca-Cola South Africa has registered its complaint in the interest of protecting Coca-Cola trademarks against any infringements in the South African market,” Coca-Cola said in a statement.

The cease-and-desist letter, which can be viewed here, accused SodaStream of “disparaging” Coca-Cola's trademarks and products and contravening comparative advertising laws. It asked Israel-based SodaStream to remove the exhibit from the airport and promise not to infringe Coca-Cola's trademarks in the future.

The head of SodaStream said the company will not back down.

“This legal action is laughable and we plan to fight it every step of the way,” said SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum in a statement yesterday. “If Coca-Cola wants to claim ownership over their rubbish, then they should be forced to clean it up, everywhere. If this is their rubbish, then it’s their responsibility.” 

SodaStream has been relatively active in recent times. It bought back the Nordic and Baltic distribution rights to its business from distributor Empire AB in December and in January signed a co-branding deal with Kraft Foods in the US.

In March, it introduced a range of 12 flavours sweetened with stevia