LOS ANGELES – An Illinois beverage company is accusing two companies of falsely advertising a drink as kefir.

Lifeway Foods Inc. filed a complaint on Sept. 21 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the Millennium Products Inc., doing business as GT's Kombucha/Synergy Drinks, and Cocokefir LLC alleging violation of the Lanham Act, unfair competition and false advertising.

According to the complaint, Lifeway Foods Inc. is the leading producer of kefir in the United States, a fermented/cultured dairy milk drink. It alleges genuine kefir cannot be made from non-dairy milk or water of plants, like coconuts or otherwise, such as the CocoKefir products being marketed and sold by the defendants.

The plaintiff alleges that unless the defendants are enjoined, it will suffer and continue to suffer substantial injury, including loss of customers, dilution of goodwill, confusion of existing and potential customers, and diminution of the value of plaintiff’s products. 

The plaintiff holds Millennium Products Inc., doing business as GT's Kombucha/Synergy Drinks, and Cocokefir LLC responsible because the defendants allegedly deceived consumers into thinking that they are getting genuine kefir from probiotic-enhanced coconut water, implied that their products are made with dairy and caused confusion and deception in the kefir market as a whole.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment in its favor, for the defendants to correct erroneous impressions, damages, disgorgement, costs of suit, attorneys’ fees, and further relief as the court deems just. It is represented by Rick L. Shackelford, Daniell K. Newman and Ryan C. Bykerk of Greenberg Traurig LLP in Los Angeles.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Case number 2:16-cv-07099

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U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
312 N Spring St
Los Angeles, CA - 90012

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