Danone North America sues Land O’ Lakes over copyright dispute

BROOMFIELD — Danone North America, the Broomfield-based company that was previously WhiteWave Foods, is claiming in court that dairy cooperative Land O’ Lakes Inc. has infringed on its trademarks for months.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Colorado Thursday, WWF Operating Co. LLC claims that it signed an agreement with Land O’ Lakes in 2013 to license the right to sell a specifically defined set of “refrigerated cream products” within North America, such as half-and-half.

While that agreement is effective in all 50 states, the complaint alleges that a concurrent agreement allowed Dean Foods Co. (NYSE: DF) to sell the same products in eight states from 2002 to this May, when Danone claims the agreement was terminated.

Dean Foods declared bankruptcy in November 2019 and sold off much of its assets to the Dairy Farmers of America, including a Greeley milk plant in March.

Danone alleges that Land O’ Lakes immediately began licensing the sale of cream products to the subsidiaries of DFA and Prairies Farms Dairy Inc., which both acquired some assets from Dean Foods in the bankruptcy this year.

Danone is asking the court for an injunction to stop Land O’ Lakes from using the trademarks and to force the company to recall all of the products bearing that mark.

Land O’ Lakes did not respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

Danone began life as WhiteWave, which started off in Broomfield as a subsidiary of Dean before it was spun off into its own company in 2012. After several acquisitions of its own, French foods conglomerate Danone SA acquired the company for $12.5 billion in 2017 and eventually renamed it Danone North America.

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BROOMFIELD — Danone North America, the Broomfield-based company that was previously WhiteWave Foods, is claiming in court that dairy cooperative Land O’ Lakes Inc. has infringed on its trademarks for months.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Colorado Thursday, WWF Operating Co. LLC claims that it signed an agreement with Land O’ Lakes in 2013 to license the right to sell a specifically defined set of “refrigerated cream products” within North America, such as half-and-half.

While that agreement is effective in all 50 states, the complaint alleges that a concurrent agreement allowed Dean Foods Co. (NYSE: DF) to sell the same products in eight states from 2002 to this May, when Danone claims the agreement was terminated.

Dean Foods declared bankruptcy in November 2019 and sold off much of its assets to the Dairy Farmers of America, including a Greeley milk plant in March.

Danone alleges that Land O’ Lakes immediately began licensing the sale of cream products to the subsidiaries of DFA and Prairies Farms Dairy Inc., which both acquired some assets from Dean Foods in the bankruptcy this year.

Danone is asking the court for an injunction to stop Land O’ Lakes from using the trademarks and to force the company to recall all of the products bearing that mark.

Land O’ Lakes did not respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

Danone began life as WhiteWave, which started off in Broomfield as a subsidiary of Dean before it was spun off into its own company in…