Feathers sent to fly as food firms square up

THE GIANT of the British turkey industry, Bernard Matthews, is heading for a high court battle with Unilever manufacturers over its breaded nugget brand name.

The Norfolk based company, is claiming damages for infringement of its UK-registered trademark, Drummers.

Matthews claims Unilever is planning the launch of a similar product called Drumsters. A Bernard Matthews spokesman said: "We have been advised that the proposed use of "Drumsters" by Unilever is an infringement of our rights in our trademark "Drummers" and a claim form has been issued accordingly."

A Unilever spokesman said the launch of its Turkey Drumsters was on schedule. He also confirmed that Birds Eye would be contesting Bernard Matthews' claims for damages over trademark infringment. John Farrell, Birds Eye category director, said: "Drummers has become the common name in the trade for this type of product and there are a number of other companies using this name to describe similar products."

We believe that consumers will not be confused between this product and Captain Birds Eye Turkey Drumsters product".

He added one of the key reasons behind the launch of this product was to improve the nutritional standards in the coated turkey category.

"The Captain Birds Eye product is made with 100% turkey breast meat (a fact which is clearly stated on pack) and contains significantly less fat than the Bernard Matthews one."