The Beech-Nut Nutrition Co. has filed a complaint against an organic baby-food maker seeking a declaration that Beech-Nut has not infringed any of Plum PBC’s trademarks and that the trademarks Plum has asserted to the word “JUST” and certain phrases are invalid. Beech-Nut Nutrition Co. v. Plum PBC, No. 14-0791 (N.D.N.Y., filed June 30, 2014).

According to the complaint, Plum sent Beech-Nut a cease-and-desist letter in June 2014 shortly after Beech-Nut launched a new line of whole fruit and vegetable foods for babies including the word “just” on product labels and advertised them under a promotional campaign “This is not baby food” and “This is real food for babies.” The letter allegedly demanded that Beech-Nut stop infringing Plum’s “JUST” trademark and using the promotional phrases.

Beech-Nut contends that (i) the word “just” is simply descriptive and generic; (ii) Plum does not use the trademark symbol beside the word on its product labels; (iii) there is no likelihood of marketplace confusion between the products, which have distinctive promotional materials and packaging; and (iv) Plum has never used the promotional phrases that Beech-Nut uses in connection with its baby-food products. Beech-Nut seeks a declaratory judgment of unenforceability and non-infringement, the cancellation of two U.S. registrations for “JUST,” and attorney’s fees and costs.


Issue 529

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.