Kirin Brewery Co. and Sapporo Breweries Ltd. have reached an out-of-court settlement to end their six-month dispute over the label design on one of Sapporo’s beer products, company officials said Friday.
The settlement followed a decision by Sapporo to stop selling its Fine Lager low-malt beer after final shipments in late August, prompting Kirin to withdraw its lawsuit seeking a provisional injunction to ban sales of the product, the officials said.
Kirin, claiming that the label is a copy of the one for Kirin Lager Beer, sought the court order in March after Sapporo rejected Kirin’s demand that it withdraw its Sapporo Fine Lager beer from the market.
“We think our initial purpose has been accomplished with the sales termination,” a Kirin official said.
Kirin claimed the launch of Sapporo Fine Lager violated the law against unfair competition and that it received some 300 complaints from consumers.
The battle dates back to March 6, when Kirin sent Sapporo a written notice demanding it either replace the red and white design of the label of Sapporo Fine Lager beer or withdraw the product.
Sapporo denied having copied the label design, saying the shape of the logo on its Sapporo Fine Lager is rhombic, whereas that on the Kirin Lager Beer label is elliptical.
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