By: Jeff Coy
Picture By: Mike Mozart on Flickr
Reuters Legal tweeted an article about Prepperidge Farm Inc. suing Trader Joe’s Company, accusing the chain of trademark infringement. The Grocery store chain is being accused for selling a cookie that looks very similar to Prepperidge Farm’s Milano Cookie.
Pepperidge Farm, a bakery unit of Campbell Soup Co., said Trader Joe’s is damaging its goodwill, causing confused shoppers through its sale of Trader Joe’s Crispy Cookies. The complaint was filed in the New Haven, Connecticut federal court.
A trademark for Pepperidge Farm’s Milano cookie was registered in 2010. The cookie consists of chocolate filling, and sometimes other flavors. Its filling is sandwiched between two oval-shaped cookies. Pepperidge Farm, said Trader Joe’s version of the cookie was more rectangular but had rounded edges. The company said this is “mimicking an overall oval shape.” Pepperidge Farm also accused Trader Joe’s of using similar packaging. Because the Milano cookie has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue in the last decade, the filed complaint said: “The acts of Trader Joe’s have been malicious and calculated to injure Pepperidege Farm.”
A trademark is any device, word, symbol, or combination of the three that differentiates an individual’s or company’s services and goods from the services or products of competitors. This helps signify all goods bearing the trademark or service mark come from a single source so costumers do not get confused with similar products. Trademarks also serves as a prime instrument in advertising and selling goods or services.
A spokeswoman for Pepperidge Farm said: “The trust Pepperidge Farm has built with consumers is of utmost importance to us.” Pepperidge Farm is wants a halt to the sales of the Trader Joe’s cookie, plus punitive and compensatory damages.
Many generic products are similar to well known brand products. Everything from cereal, coffee, cloths, and much more have customers who buy these generic products because they are cheaper. It seems Pepperidge Farm feels their customers are confusing the two products as the same cookie which is a valid argument for a trademark infringement. The company may have to show proof they are loosing profits because of these confusions. Trader Joe’s is a well known grocery chin that sells many of its own labeled products. It may be hard for Pepperidge Farm to prove confusion between the two products.