Federal judge halts sale of Irish butter over trademark suit

MADISON — A federal judge has ordered a Wisconsin creamery to stop sales of its Irish butter in the state while the creamery is being sued for trademark infringement.

Eastern District of Wisconsin Judge J.P. Stadtmueller at a Thursday, April 13th hearing barred Sheboygan-based Old World Creamery from selling its imported Irish butter under the name Irishgold, which first went on sale Wednesday.

Ornua, the company that owns trademarks of Kerrygold Irish butter, sued the creamery and related companies Monday alleging that Irishgold's similar name and packaging are an attempt to profit from Kerrygold's strong brand reputation.

Stadtmueller at the hearing called the dispute a "textbook case" of why research is important to avoid trademark issues but says his temporary order doesn't indicate how the court might rule on the case.

Below a statement from Steve Knaus, managing partner of Old World Creamery of Sheboygan following the ruling:

“We are disappointed with (the) ruling. As I have said many times, ‘when times get tough, it’s important to raise your head higher and keep moving forward.’ We will move forward at this point and look at all options available.”