Reply To: Good morning,  We are looking for some advice.   The situation is that we are planning to sell our ice cream in tubs and Tip Top have trademarked the name Dulce De Leche on all frozen dessert products.  Dulce De Leche is a sweet caramel like spread and one that we make in house and use in our desserts, sell in jars and also make an ice cream out of it.   We obviously can’t sell the Ice Cream as  “Dulce De Leche”  but have decided to name it “Dolce” (which is Italian for sweet and also Lorena’s (one of the founders) grandmothers name)  On the back of the tub we would like to write a story about the name saying: Dolce is our traditional Argentinean house-made dulce de leche. Named after our Nonna Maria, ‘Dolce’ also means ‘sweet’ in Italian. Or we could say  Dolce is made using our traditional Argentinean house-made dulce de leche………etcI look forward to hearing from you.   Regards, Hayley


Hi Hayley

My colleague Jason Rudkin-Binks (our trade marks expert) has said this:

Trade mark infringement can only occur where a word / phrase / logo is used “as a trade mark”, i.e. where it is used as a brand to denote trade origin. It is not trade mark infringement to use a term in a descriptive manner. The use you describe sounds like descriptive use, i.e. you are using “dulce de leche” in accordance with its accepted meaning to describe the sweet sauce that is known by that name. Your use is also on the back of pack. You are in effect using it to describe an ingredient. Note, we haven’t looked at whether DOLCE can be used as a brand as that involves conducting a formal clearance search.

We hope that helps and good luck with your ice cream product!