Tag Archives trade dress

Kervan USA has agreed to change the packaging of its Sunkist fruit snacks and the shape of its candy following a lawsuit filed by Promotion in Motion Inc., which produces Welch's fruit snacks. Promotion in Motion Inc. v. Kervan USA LLC, No. 18-11670 (D.N.J., entered November 6, 2018). Kervan will change the background color of the packages for its fruit snacks to avoid confusion with packages of Welch's fruit snacks, and it will change the shape of its watermelon candies to avoid the use of the "distinctive three-dimensional trapezoid shape" of Promotion in Motion's Sour Jacks. Kervan will also sell off its existing supply of allegedly infringing products and destroy any remaining units after 90 days.

Promotion in Motion Inc., which produces Welch’s Fruit Snacks, has filed a lawsuit alleging that Kervan USA's packaging and product design for Sunkist Fruit Gummies infringe its trademarks and trade dress. Promotion in Motion Inc., v. Kervan USA LLC, No. 18-11670 (D.N.J., filed July 16, 2018). Although Sunkist Fruit Gummies have not been released, Kervan has publicly displayed the intended packaging at trade shows and online, Promotion in Motion alleges, and it asserts that the packaging “closely copies” the Welch's packaging by using similar design elements and color as well as the identical claim “Fruit is our 1st Ingredient.” Promotion in Motion also contends that Kervan imports and distributes a wedge-shaped sour watermelon candy under various product labels that violates the trade dress of its Sour Jacks, which is advertised with the slogan “Respect the Wedge” and an emphasis on the candy’s shape. Alleging trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, false designation of…

Spangler Candy Co. has filed a lawsuit alleging that the packaging for Tootsie Roll Industries LLC's Charms Mini Pops infringes its Dum Dums trade dress. Spangler Candy Co. v. Tootsie Roll Indus., LLC, No. 18-1146 (N.D. Ohio, filed May 18, 2018). Spangler asserts that for decades it has sold its lollipops in red bags with the brand name in white letters above a display window, a red border at the bottom and a yellow circle or oval with blue numerals in the center. The complaint alleges that Tootsie Roll has changed its Charms Mini Pops packaging from a yellow bag to a bag that resembles the Dum Dums bag. Further, pallet displays of the products at some retailers show bags inside similar yellow boxes, the complaint asserts, making the “overall visual impression” of the two products “deceptively and confusingly similar.” Claiming trade dress infringement and unfair competition, Spangler seeks damages, injunctive relief,…

The maker of Jack Daniel’s has filed suit against two Texas companies alleging they infringed the Tennessee whiskey’s trademark and trade dress by selling a line of whiskies in similarly shaped bottles with similar labeling. Jack Daniel’s Props., Inc., v. Dynasty Spirits, Inc., No. 18-2400 (N.D. Cal., filed April 20, 2018). The complaint alleges that Tennessee whiskey has been sold under the Jack Daniel’s mark “continuously since 1875, except during Prohibition” and is sold in a “square bottle with angled shoulders, beveled corners, and a ribbed neck, a black cap, a black neck wrap closure with white printing bearing the OLD NO. 7 mark, and a label with a white on black color scheme bearing the JACK DANIEL’S mark depicted in arched lettering at the top of the label [] and the word ‘Tennessee’ depicted in script.” The competitor whiskies “all feature a square bottle with angled shoulders, beveled corners…

Green Crush, a retailer selling juice, smoothie and aguas frescas beverages, has filed a lawsuit alleging that a former Green Crush manager and a former contractor engaged in corporate espionage, asserting that they used the chain’s proprietary information and infringed its trademarks and trade dress to start a competing company. Green Crush, LLC v. Paradise Splash 1, Inc., No. 17-1856 (C.D. Cal., filed October 23, 2017). The complaint alleges that the manager frequently asked senior Green Crush employees about “distribution operations, specific equipment, detailed drink ingredients, the design, placement, setting and layout of drink containers and cups, and the process and recipes used” before leaving to start a competing juice store. Further, Green Crush argues, the manager and contractor solicited Green Crush employees to work for them; allegedly, some of those employees asked “if the store under construction was a [Green Crush] store because it looked just like one.” Seeking…

Following a bench trial, a California federal court has ruled that Fetzer Vineyards, Inc.’s “bourbon barrel aged” 1000 Stories red zinfandel wine, which features a sketch of a buffalo on its label, does not infringe the trademark or trade dress of Sazerac Co.’s Buffalo Trace bourbon. Sazerac Co. v. Fetzer Vineyards, Inc., No. 15-4618 (N.D. Cal., entered September 19, 2017). “This case was not close,” the court said. Sazerac “did not establish that Buffalo Trace’s bourbon trade dress was similar to 1000 Stories wine’s. It did not establish that Fetzer intended to infringe at the creation of its product or in its marketing. There was no evidence of actual confusion between the products … and no indication that consumers of 1000 Stories are even aware of Buffalo Trace.” The court had already limited Sazerac’s potential recovery to attorney’s fees after the company failed to provide damage calculations on a timely…

Sugarfina, maker of “luxury boutique” candies, has filed a trademark, copyright, patent and trade dress infringement suit against Sweet Pete’s alleging the competitor relied “heavily on several design elements of Sugarfina’s distinctive packaging and marketing” of Cuba Libre®, Peach Bellini®, Fruttini, Candy Cube, Candy Concierge and Candy Bento Box® products. Sugarfina v. Sweet Pete’s, No. 17-­4456 (C.D. Cal., filed June 15, 2017). Sugarfina asserts that Sweet Pete’s copied the names, “size, shape, color or color combinations, texture, graphics and sales techniques” of all six named product lines that Sugarfina packages in “museum­-quality Lucite.” Sugarfina further argues that Sweet Pete’s was “a failing business prior to its radical transformation into a Sugarfina copycat.” The plaintiff seeks an injunction, treble damages, corrective advertising and attorney’s fees.   Issue 639

Diageo has filed a trademark-­infringement and dilution lawsuit against a competitor that allegedly mimicked Diageo’s Bulleit® bottle shape and labeling. Diageo N. Am. V. W.J. Deutsch & Sons, No. 17­-4259 (S.D.N.Y., filed June 6, 2017). Diageo asserts that Bulleit® is sold in a “distinctive canteen-­shaped bottle featuring embossed lettering” on the label, meant to “evoke the rugged look and feel of the American Frontier.” The complaint alleges that after W.J. Deutsch bought the Redemption whiskey product line, it redesigned the products to have a “clear canteen-­shaped glass bottle,” an embossed brand name and a cork bottle cap with a black top. Claiming trademark and trade­ dress infringement and dilution, Diageo seeks injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.   Issue 638

A New York federal court has denied a motion to dismiss a patent infringement and trade dress suit filed by candy maker The Topps Co. alleging that a competitor copied its Juicy Drop lollipop. The Topps Co. v. Koko’s Confectionery & Novelty, Inc., No. 16-­5954 (S.D.N.Y., order entered June 7, 2017). Topps alleged that Koko’s Squeezy Squirt Pop copied a design that allows the user to spray a lollipop with flavored liquid using a two­-chamber mechanism; further, Koko’s used a similar logo, font and color on the packaging and similar names for the candies’ flavors, the complaint asserted. The court’s decision followed oral arguments over whether the positioning of the chambers of the mechanism relative to the user was infringing. Topps’ attorney reportedly told the court, “It can’t be the law that just because you hold it at 90 degrees, it’s not an infringement.” See Law360, June 6, 2017.  …

A federal court has ruled that Sazerac Co. may take Fetzer Vineyards, Inc. to trial for its trade­-dress claims but cannot seek damages because it failed to disclose damage calculations in a timely manner. Sazerac Co. v. Fetzer Vineyards, Inc., No. 15­-4618 (N.D. Cal, order entered April 27, 2017). Sazerac, maker of Buffalo Trace bourbon, alleged Fetzer’s use of a buffalo and the words “bourbon barrel aged” on the label of its 1000 Stories zinfandel infringed its federal trademark and trade-dress rights. Sazerac “demonstrated a triable issue whether consumers are likely to be confused by Fetzer’s buffalo and trade dress,” the court found. However, Sazerac indicated it would provide damage calculations based on expert testimony, but it failed to propose a valid methodology until shortly before the settlement conference, when it instead presented calculations based on third­-party licensing agreements. Because of the irremediable prejudice to Fetzer, the court ruled that…

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