Bedessee can use Demerara Gold trademark in North America – GuySuCo

The Guyana Sugar Corporation’s ongoing legal woes with Bedessee Imports Ltd have come to an end as it was found that the latter is legally entitled to use the mark of Demerara Gold on its products in North America.

A statement on GuySuCo’s website said “Going forward, it is expected that Bedessee will continue to use the mark on cane sugar products within Canada, Mexico and the United States, whereas GuySuCo will continue to use the mark elsewhere in the world.”

The state-owned corporation said it is “satisfied” with the outcome stating that Bedessee was the first to use the mark Demerara Gold on cane sugar products in Canada and the United States.

The announcement by GuySuCo was made quietly with the corporation posting a brief statement on its website’s media page which had not been updated since 2010. The corporation did not provide any official press release as has become the norm for disseminating information that the corporation wishes to share.

Bedessee and GuySuCo have been at odds since 2010 when the former sued the latter and the Government of Guyana over the trademark.

According to a ruling in 2010 by Canadian Judge G.R. Strathy “moving rapidly forward well into the 20th century”, Bedessee’s un-contradicted evidence is that it has been using the name ‘Demerara Gold’ as a trademark for sugar and other products in Canada and the United States since at least 1984.

On the other hand GuySuCo’s evidence is that, prior to 2003, its marketing was relatively unsophisticated.

“It sold sugar for export primarily in the Caribbean region, and the sugar was sold ‘nameless’ in unlabeled 50 kg. bags with unsophisticated packaging.”

It was in April 2003, according to the judge GuySuCo launched its first branded sugar for the retail trade, which it called ‘Demerara Gold’, the same name used by Bedessee.

According to the background of the case, as provided in the decision seen by this newspaper in 2010, Bedessee Imports Ltd was founded by Lionel Bedessee, who went to Canada from Guyana in 1971.

Then it was difficult to find Caribbean foods in Ontario and Bedessee began to import food from that region.  In 1977, he started a retail store selling Caribbean food on Queen Street West in Toronto and from that store, the business has grown and prospered to the extent that at present it  operates from a 46,000 square foot warehouse and manufacturing facility in Scarborough. Bedessee Imports Inc. was incorporated on September 23, 1985 to carry on the same business in the United States.  It has a warehouse in Brooklyn, New York and a wholesale outlet in Florida, both of which are now managed by the founder’s sons.

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