LODI, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Corto Olive, L.P. (“Corto Olive”) today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in United States District Court for the Central District of California against Gemsa Enterprises, LLC (“Gemsa”) seeking to halt Gemsa’s infringement of the 51-49® registered trademark and distinctive packaging for Corto Olive’s brand of blended oil.
Corto Olive produces and distributes products under the 51-49® brand. 51-49® is used in dressing salads, finishing warm entrees, light sautéing, and signature sauces and is marketed to restaurateurs through foodservice distributors.
As shown in the image here, Gemsa, a direct competitor of Corto Olive, prominently uses the 51-49® trademark in connection with its blend of extra virgin olive and canola oils. 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.
“Gemsa’s attempt to deceive customers into thinking they are buying our product, instead of a commodity knock-off, is so flagrant that we had to take action. We are determined to enforce our rights in every instance that a competitor attempts to steal our intellectual property, and we will protect the restaurateurs and foodservice distributors who count on our trademark as the mark of premium olive oil,” said Tom Cortopassi, Senior Managing Partner of Corto Olive.
The plaintiffs sent Gemsa a letter in May 2018 demanding that it halt use of the 51-49® trademark, but Gemsa has failed to take corrective action, leaving Corto Olive with no choice but to seek relief in federal court. The lawsuit alleges trademark and trade dress infringement under federal law, and unfair competition violations under federal and California laws.
Corto Olive, L.P. is a California-based manufacturer of premium olive oils for restaurateurs, including brands such as 51-49®, TRULY® Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and La Padella®. Corto Olive was founded by the Cortopassi family, a farming family from Lucca, Italy, with a multi-generational reputation as producers of high-quality foods.