A Chicago businessman has accused the Coca Cola Company of stealing the “Zero” brand name. Mirza Baig has filed a lawsuit against the soft drinks company in a bid to stop it from using the name.
Baig, owner of Blue Springs Water Co, claims he launched a no calorie water brand called Naturally Zero in 1998, alleging that Coca-Cola knew about this but still decided to take the name and mimic the product’s slogan.
It is understood that Baig filed the lawsuit in an Illinois district court on July 24 and is also looking to force Coca-Cola to hand over profits from sales of Zero-branded soft drinks. Coke also produces the Sprite Zero variant for its lemon-and-lime brand Sprite.
The brand received heavy support in the UK, including a campaign featuring Manchester United and England footballer, Wayne Rooney (pictured).
In a statement from Coke in the US, company spokesman Ray Crockett has accused Baig of intimidation and repeatedly threatening to take legal action against the soft drinks giant over the last four years.
Crockett said in the statement: “In response to repeated threats, we filed a suit against Mr Baig and his company in Atlanta several weeks ago for a declaratory judgement and injunctive relief, in order to resolve the issue.”